No, I didn’t vomit
People often call me a “madman” or “robot” for playing games for lengthy periods of time, much of which results in the coverage you see here. The secret is that a lot of projects involve long lead times, but just as often, it’s crunch-time. This past week I’ve been balancing my schedule between the Oculus Rift and Dark Souls III, which have both, as you can probably expect, taken up basically all of my time.
But one virtual reality-related odyssey was especially on my mind. Recently at GDC, Kotaku’s Keza MacDonald wrote about her experience using VR headsets for an entire day, leading to all sorts of questions from our readership. So, for science, I decided to give a marathon session a go.
There’s no such thing as general video game fatigue for me, as I enjoyed every second of my play session, but my real concern was how VR felt for hours on end. Surprisingly, it’s actually not that bad, but your results may vary. Nearly everyone I know has had dizzy spells and the like after longer exposure times, and some people cannot use VR at all — even with the modern tech that is inherently designed to fight off sickness.
I didn’t really experience that outside of one game, Adr1ft. In a sort of sick way it actually added to the experience, making it more harrowing atmosphere than the usual walking simulator. But I doubt everyone will feel the same, especially if you only have a few hours a week to game. This is still a stark contrast to the VR of my childhood, including the Virtual Boy, which felt like my retinas were actively burning after 30 minutes. I jokingly tell people that one all-night session I spent with Nintendo’s ill-fated platform is in part responsible for my nearsightedness.
The vast majority of the launch games on the Rift aren’t marked as “intense,” in the storefront, a notation I can agree with. Every so often I’d feel the need to take off the headset and re-acclimate, but I was ready to put it back on again in seconds, without a break. In other words, VR is relatively safe; at least, it’s a lot safer than it was in the past. But definitely try it out before you spend $600 on a silly bike helmet that might make you throw up.
[Image via Cubicle Ninjas]