I didn't actually think I'd do this Bloggers Wanted prompt. I'm not really overly interested in VR, and I feel like I got my fill of it when I was a kid at some theme park attraction. For me, I figured that was the end of it. It's expensive, it needs a lot of space, and really, nothing developers have done have really wowed me or made me all that hyped. But then, I thought to myself, maybe I've been looking at this from the wrong angle.
When it comes to VR, I'd been thinking more in terms of the first person games that you probably see many popular YouTubers playing. With the hardware released, now anyone with cash can join that crowd. And don't get me wrong, I do appreciate some of the ideas they've put into some of these games. There was one game that had players disarming a bomb together that looked really fun, for instance. I think multiplayer in VR is something that is absolutely going to be a huge draw for it going forward, and I think the sky's the limit there.
... but all the same, that still wasn't quite getting me going about the idea yet.
Then it dawned on me.
Who gives a damn about video games?
Video games are great and all, but virtual reality stands to be so much more than that now that it's here and within the reach of the masses in the coming years. If we're looking at the possibility of affordable VR being a thing within the next decade, virtual reality games are probably going to either lose relevance extremely fast, or gaming is going to become mainstream extremely fast. ... Well, maybe not fast, but if the technology keeps up the pace, I can't help but wonder how long this will take...
Forget being a Super Saiyan or a Kamen Rider, forget being in some virtual jump scare horror house. With virtual reality, with these VR headsets, we could be looking at a future where two people from different parts of the US could go on an affordable vacation to Europe or Asia from their living rooms that they would never be able to afford. With VR, people could, no, people will be able to see things with their eyes in ways that some people may have gone their whole lives feeling like they would only be able to see in their dreams or on TV.
You could go to Italy, to Japan, to Africa, to just about anywhere in the world if we get the technology there. All the things people never thought they would be able to do for this reason or that, virtual reality can let them experience.
What if we even get to the point where we're able to realistically recreate the past?
I'm not talking about dinosaurs here, but simple stuff. Imagine someone getting to go see an event from their childhood, maybe taking a child or grandchild with them. The Superbowl where a child's grandfather met their grandmother, for example. Someday we might even have the technology for virtual reality camcorders to be available to the mass market. Can you imagine what that would do for the world? It's mind boggling, yet I can't help but wonder how many people aren't even thinking about this angle, because virtual reality is being looked at by so many, at least in the gaming community, as a toy or a gaming peripheral.
The possibilities here are probably close to infinite, so long as we allow ourselves the freedom to explore them.
Forget pleasure, imagine what virtual reality could do for education. Imagine being able to take a classroom of students into the very moment historical moments happened. It wouldn't be literal or anything, we're not talking about time machines, but it could totally revolutionize how kids are taught and even tested. Imagine what could be done for medicine and for other fields. I'm sure these things of things are in the works, if they're not a reality already.
Obviously, this kind of technology could absolutely be abused beyond our wildest imaginations too. There's as much horror and darkness in infinity as there is sunshine and light, if not more so. The human race can be awful, especially when unrestrained, as virtual reality could give them the free pass to be.
And as sad as it sounds, if it were to become commonplace, I'm sure there would become a time when people would feel the technology is as mundane and natural to them as being able to Google facts is for the youth of today. Look at the places I've visited alone just by getting a couple of pictures for this blog.
Comparatively, I have to think these are pretty boring things to be excited about compared to the likes of giant robots and virtual reality worlds and getting to be a Super Saiyan! Or be in Sword Art Online, if you so prefer for some reason. Using virtual reality for teaching may seem lazy to some people, and using it for vacations may seem cheap to others.
Yet I know some of you have been there. You've had trouble in school at some time or another, not disinterested in the topic, but just not able to click with it. You've wanted with all your heart to be able to go to somewhere in the world, to experience it just a little, just to have a taste of it, whether it's Rome or Greece or China or Japan or England or even the good old US of A or any other number of places, there are so many. Maybe even across your very own country. Maybe even a local attraction you want to see with your family that you can't visit because your legs don't work anymore. It could be anything. Who are you or I to judge?
A virtual trip even to just the aquarium or the zoo might seem small compared to being able to visit wide, virtual, digital worlds full of the creator's wildest fantasies, but somehow, it's the former that I want to see happen so much more.