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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kitchen Nightmares and Virtual Reality.

Kitchen Nightmares

Kitchen Nightmares

I’m not talking about Gordon Ramsey, but I wish I was. Last night I had my first real experience with Virtual Reality gaming. I was only really interested in checking it out, maybe playing one of its multitudinous glorified tech demos and seeing whether or not it would give me crippling motion sickness but I got way more than I bargained for. At the behest of Joy the girl I chose a game called Kitchen. I clicked on it totally expecting to be chopping onions and carrots and putting them into some soup. What I got was the first time I’ve ever been truly scared playing a game.

I don’t like horror movies and I’ve only been in a haunted house once and at that was enough for me. However it has always been easy for me to separate myself from games meant to frighten and scare their players. Sure jump scares make me jump, just like anybody, but I’ve never been too afraid to continue through a game, but I found out that Virtual Reality is a different beast altogether.
The title screen popped up. I immediately said “Nope.” merely the sight of a dilapidated building with a lone chair in the middle was enough to tell me, that I wanted to go no further. It seemed as if I was actually in the room. This room, this dark room with shadows and rotting wood shouted something at me loud and clear. It's like the pirates of the Caribbean ride warning you that dead men tell no tales, as you leave the creepy bayou with banjo music playing.
Upon entering the game I was greeted with total immersion in a scene ripped right from a horror movie. I was sitting in a chair bound with Zip Ties, a camera sat on a tripod a few feet in front of me and in the corner of the room not too far away was a body slumped on the floor. It was an eerie image, and to my already horror squeamish self the scene painted a macabre setting all too real for me to bear. I’m only slightly over exaggerating. I immediately wanted to stop playing the game. I even said something  to the effect of “Nope, not playing this.” To which Joy and Eliot quickly administered scorched earth style peer pressure and insisted I keep playing. The body in the corner of the room stirred and got up. I immediately screamed in abject horror and begin to try to get away from the approaching man, who as it turned out was actually my ally. He took a knife and began to try to free my from my bonds.
Halfway through this gallant effort to free me from the zip ties the the real fun began. Just as I was certain that the knife would slip and cut me a figure appeared behind my ally. A creepy looking woman, I can’t lie because there are eye witnesses that can call me out if I do, so all  that being said, I just about crapped my pants. This creepy looking women quickly dispatched my ally and took his knife. Soon this woman was holding a knife close to my face, It all felt as if this was happening right in front of me, this wasn’t a fake looking Jaws briefly popping out at me momentarily or a simulated depth like in Avatar this all felt like it was right in front of me.
I immediately closed my eyes and looked away from the screen, I honestly couldn’t bear to see this image of a knife coming straight at me. I played for a few more seconds while the woman dragged away my ally behind a wall and then his head came rolling into view I paused the game and took of the headset. At this point I was absolutely done with this game.
I was skeptical going into my first experience with the VR, but coming out of it I am singing an entirely different tune. If the games for Playstation VR and the other high end VR rigs can live up to the immersion of this game then VR will be a standard bearer for certain types of games. This VR is a big step towards fulfillment of books like Ready Player One and a milestone on the path toward Star Trek’s holodeck. Not all games should utilize this technology, but a certain subset of games can become a thrilling addition to any library, Horror and First Person Shooters can take on an entirely different life. The possibilities of adventure games in the future is astronomical, and while Horror games don’t seem to be for me, those who like horror will find themselves in an entirely different world.  

Buy PlayStation VR here: PlayStation VR

Buy Resident Evil here:  Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Gold Edition - PlayStation 4

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