Check Out The Strangest Gimmicks Virtual Reality Has To Offer
2016 has been billed the “Year of Virtual Reality” by techies and mass media alike. Three separate virtual reality goggles are expected to plug in later this year—HTC’s Vive, Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and Playstation’s VR. Finally, the promise of augmented reality looks ready to launch.
But it isn’t all good news on the VR front. With tech trends come tech gimmicks, and it’s sometimes hard to differentiate the two. Join us as we traverse some of the most head-spinning uses of VR technology that we’ve encountered thus far.
Chicken Nuggets with a side of McReality
Last week, McDonald’s Sweden launched Phase 1 of its maniacal plan to invade our digital lives by including VR goggles with its Kid’s Meals. The move harkens back to last November, when The New York Times lined its Sunday papers with Google Cardboard sets, but with more of that hard-to-place mustard smell. Cleverly enough, Mickey D engineered the meal container to break down into “Happy Goggles,” similar to how your kids will break down into soulless McDrones as you make the long drive back to Malmö. If only you could see Lovisa and Nil’s eyes, perhaps you could get through to them–pull them out of the VR skiing game included with the meal. But, no, their gazes are lost behind taunting those cursed McBranded smiles. It dawns on you that your drive will pass by as inconsequential, as fleeting as the whistling winds that dart through the trees of Kolmården. “I’m lovin’ it,” you whimper, inaudible over the A/C’s hum.
VR Makes Six Flags’ Roller Coasters More Nauseating
For those who haven’t plugged in yet, Virtual Reality is a bit of a nausea-inducing experience. It takes some time to gather your bearings after you affix the goggles to your face. You’ll ask yourself questions like, “Where are my hands? What is this new place? Do I have my house keys?” Luckily for you, the geniuses at Six Flags decided to tap into that never-ending sense of vertigo by strapping you and your goggly-eyes into a fucking real-life roller coaster. Sure, you’ve vomited before. But have you vomited in the manufactured three dimensional dreamscapes of virtual reality?
The ride, titled “The New Revolution,” undoubtedly refers to the spinning sensation your gut will feel after defying gravity, reason, and the very fabric of space-time. We’ll stick to Roller Coaster Tycoon for our 3D theme park needs, thanks.
4DX Movie Theaters Will Literally Leave You Wet and Tickled
File this one under “augmented experiences that sound like more trouble than they’re worth.” Since launching in 2009, 4DX has developed over 200 enhanced theaters worldwide. A ticket to a 4DX movie will run you a steep $30, a price justified by its armada of additional motion and environmental effects. You’ve got motion seats, of course. But this isn’t your grandma’s Brookstone. You’ve also got foot ticklers, wind effects, rain and mist effects, wind fans, and the return of Smell-o-Vision. The first theater in NYC will show Batman V. Superman later this month. We can’t wait to compare the bouquet of the two men’s underarms as nearby rubble lightly peppers our face.
Deny Yourself Life’s Pleasures with Virtual Reality Dieting
Have you got eyes too big for your stomach? Why not just replace your eyes? At least, that’s the reasoning followed by the Tokyo University engineers, who created virtual reality diet goggles. By supersizing that glazed donut currently gripped by your meaty hands, you’ll be fooled into feeling more full when you eat it. Don’t worry about the fact that your digitalized hand looks oddly polygonal and glistens with a plasticky sheen. Just keep eating those cookies, filling up the digital void your virtual eyes can never quite fill.
Experience the Thrill of Getting Buried Alive
Hey, have you ever wondered what it’s like to awaken, clothbound in a coffin? I sincerely hope not–that’s a really strange thing to worry about. However, if you’ve got taphophobia, or the fear of getting buried alive, you’ve probably mapped out an escape route in your head, or invested in one of those “coffin bells” in case you find yourself conscious post-confinement. You also might have dwelled upon the idea if you are one of the fucked up developers of Taphobos, a virtual reality game where your objective is to escape your immediate predicament of being stuck in a coffin.
The developers, who say they’re trying to capture the feeling of being “buried alive with just a phone call to the outside world,” pair the coffin-bound goggle-wearer with a person at a computer in the same room. Armed with only goggles and a headset, they have to use their wits and a crudely drawn map on the underside of the coffin in order to find each other in real-life, and free themselves from this mortal hell. Fail and experience the absurdity of virtual reality death. Well, this is definitely not the video game your nephew put on his Christmas list.
Images via McDonald’s, Legendary Pictures, Taphobos.
Original imagery by Kathryn Chadason.
For more virtual insanity, stay tuned to Milk.