The wonder that is virtual reality


Is Virtual Reality the direction humanity is going?

Keith Oswalt, Reporter

After owning a Virtual Reality headset for a month, I believe that everybody should be able to experience the wonder that is virtual reality at least once in their lifetime.  With the recent move from the physical world to the metaverse, we have noticed a drastic change in how technology is enveloping our everyday lives.  In the future, we could see technology become our lives!  We have already seen the bare minimum of what that could be like during the Coronavirus pandemic. However, unlike then when we were stuck behind a computer screen, suffering from the platform known as Zoom, we are at least able to go into the general public now.  But for those still afraid of the unknown that has recently become the outside world, and still want to experience human interaction, Virtual Reality is perfect for you!

While yes, it isn’t the same as the real thing, you won’t feel a hug in VR, the experience that it gives showing that it is indeed a 1 on 1 talk between you and another person is enough for some people.  With an avatar fully customizable to your liking, and applications that you can use to talk and interact with people, the options are seemingly endless for what one can do.  You can do activities such as going out in “public”, playing cards, fishing, etc.  And if you aren’t into that, not to worry.  If you want to try something before doing it in real life, some simulations put you into situations such as boxing matches, golf, and even the rare occasional fight to the death with a blade and sorcery in your arsenal.

But, what if you aren’t in the mood to be active, yet still wish to experience virtual reality?  Fear not, as for those who want to use VR for streaming purposes, you were not overlooked.  You have access to a browser where you can look up your favorite streaming services, such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, etc.  As long as you have an existing membership for the apps, you can just as easily access them in Virtual Reality as you would in the real world.  

Though, there are a select few drawbacks that come with buying the Oculus Quest 2 in particular.  Problem number one has to be the battery life.  If you’re streaming video, you can get at most two and a half hours of usage, but when gaming, and unable to really keep track of time, you are locked in at just around the two hour mark.  If you want to extend your battery life, you would have to buy a battery pack from a third party company or Oculus themselves, which will run you around another 100-200 dollars.  Another problem is the fact that the most quality VR games come downloadable from a PC.  This does not mean that you are required to own a computer to run games, but this does mean that you will have a limited selection of games to choose from.  You would also need to have a type of computer with the right internal specs to run Virtual Reality hardware.

Finally, the last problem I have faced is that it is VERY easy to become dizzy or sick from using the headset.   If not careful, you will experience motion sickness, and will feel ill.  Motion sickness is very common when your body is still but your brain notices that you’re moving somewhere else.  This causes confusion, and thus makes you feel as if you are about to lose your lunch.  This can easily be solved by minimizing the time that your body remains still, yet you use another way to turn around or move throughout your game.  The more skilled of VR users rarely feel motion sick.  If you are the type to experience motion sickness, your best option is to see if there is a way to move throughout the experience without moving the control stick on your controllers.  This can be done in some games by moving your arms or physically walking from point A to point B.  A game called “GORN” does this quite well, as unless you change the setting, you move your character by turning your body where you want to go, and swinging your arms while you press and hold a button.

When taking everything into consideration, Virtual Reality is an amazing experience that should not be passed up on.  The cheapest VR headset that does not require you to put your phone into, has to be the Oculus Quest 2.  For the 128 gigabyte option, without a separate battery pack or strap, it costs only 300 dollars.  You will have countless hours of time spent interacting with the Virtual Reality community day by day, just as long as your battery life can withstand it. You can potentially do anything and everything from the comfort of your own home, and for the price, should definitely be invested into.  There are games, streaming services, and more for you to explore!  Even though it has the same risks of the internet, you can essentially get the same amount of use out of a VR headset.

I had experienced VR in 8th grade, before I had graduated from middle school.  Since then I had always wanted to own a headset, and now that the holiday season came around, and I had saved up 300 dollars, I took advantage of the opportunity to cash in on a headset.  I do not regret any of my decisions up to this point.