Apologies to the PlayStation rep I backhanded at PAX East

PS VR made me do it

On the final day of PAX East, I woke up after getting a measly four or so hours of sleep. I’d been ill (since birth, but also sick for the past couple of days), my back hurt, my legs hurt, and I had a headache. I had two goals in mind for the day: Try out PlayStation VR for the first time, and not shit myself — a goal I’ve had even since returning home since I’m still sick.

It turns out I succeeded at both, but not before I literally hit the woman demonstrating PS VR to me in her face. I didn’t do it on purpose, of course, but it still happened.

After sneaking onto the show floor a bit early to avoid waiting in lines for things I didn’t make appointments to preview, I hurried to the PS VR booth. I hoped to try Rez Infinite or Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, but because attendees didn’t get a choice of game to play, I ended up at a station with The London Heist from the PlayStation VR Worlds collection.

Once I was seated, the rep quickly fitted the PS VR to my giant noggin, which I found far more comfortable than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. She then explained the controls while handing me two PlayStation Move controllers. I’m not sure if I was running a fever that day, but the screens on the headset fogged up nearly instantly. I had this same fogging issue with the Rift’s second dev kit, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem on the retail Rift or the Vive. The fogging was hard to see around — I had to hold my head at an angle and look down my nose. I’d trade some comfort for being able to see the screen any day.

Once the game started, I could see my virtual hands floating where my real hands would be. I was in a truck next to a cockney British gangster speeding down the highway. I grabbed soda cans and tossed them, played with the radio, and opened the glove box; it all felt natural. Impressive, since I never thought the Move was all that great. I suppose it could always do tracking well.

What didn’t feel natural was grabbing a gun and shooting. I pressed the same button I had used to pick up everything else to grab my gun, and I just kept dropping it and being confused as to how to fire. I slid one headphone cup half off and asked the rep what I was doing wrong.

As she started to explain, I assume she got closer to me so I could hear her better, but I’ve been to a lot of concerts and my hearing isn’t always the best, as anyone who has met me can attest to. I still couldn’t make out what she was saying. So I went to reach for my headphones to remove them completely and I’m fairly certain I backhanded her right in the face.

I instantly apologized, but I still feel bad about it even now. That poor lady had probably been there all three days explaining the same things over and over to people of varying amounts of body odor, and to top it all off she gets hit in the face by some fat guy fogging up her product’s screen. If you’re reading this, you wonderfully polite and professional person, just know I’m very sorry. 

Back to the controls: you have to let go of the button required to hold everything else, then press it again like a trigger to fire; it felt counter-intuitive. The London Heist didn’t impress me much, but this was only a small chunk of a larger experience. The voice acting was good at least, with lots of swearing for what felt like an otherwise teen-rated experience. 

In the end, I walked away from the booth disappointed by how badly the PlayStation VR screens had fogged up and feeling like an asshole for accidentally hitting a person in the face. Hopefully Sony fixes the fogging issue before release this October and hopefully that woman didn’t have to explain a black eye to anyone soon after I left her booth.

Jed Whitaker