One thing I have been waiting for – ever since I first saw the Red Dwarf episode ‘Better Than Life’ – is Virtual Reality gaming. To give some scope of how long I have wanted this, that is well over half of my life.
In recent years, as technology starts to slowly poke at this, I have had to open myself to being disappointed. Not because the technology is lacking, but because I am physically not suited to it.
The first hint of this I got was the advent of 3D cinema. After about 10 minutes of attempting to watch anything in 3D, I develop a splitting headache, which all too soon becomes that pit of despair known as a migraine.
I figured that I was just unlucky, it was only cinema, and still held a vague hope that I could be alright when the shiny VR stuff becomes more widely available.
Then I got to play with an actual VR headset at a technology museum. It was a roller coaster simulator. I lasted about 3 minutes before my motion sickness became too much to ignore, and I was left feeling nauseous for about half an hour afterwards. I told myself that the technology isn’t all that developed yet, so I could still have hope that future offerings would work some magic that would mean I would not get motion sick.
As you can probably guess, that hasn’t happened. My Dad got the PS4 VR headset offering. I was nervous about giving it a go, but excited all the same. I had a play of a deep sea adventure.
It was stunning. It was thoroughly immersing. Incredible. And I could only take it for about 15 minutes before the motion sickness started creeping up on me and I developed a splitting headache. I lasted longer than my previous attempt at a VR headset, but 15 minutes is not enough gaming time to fully experience what VR will offer in the future.
Gutted does not even cover how I feel about this. Given some of the issues surrounding the VR world, I can hope that in the years to come this can yet be solved. I know I’m not the only gamer who has encountered this. At the same time, I am now feeling a very genuine fear that I am about to be locked out of a future generation of gaming because I never grew out of my motion sickness (as I was assured by countless adults when I was a child that I would), and my head is prone to attempting to split open when a screen is in my face.
As first world problems go, this is fairly minor. But gaming has been a huge part of my life as long as I can remember – coming to the realisation that I may have to miss out in the future is unsettling and incredibly disappointing. Going forward, I’ll just have to keep hoping that these issues get solved by the people making the hardware, and console myself with the likes of Minecraft and Dark Souls.