Monday, December 19, 2016

So I Bought An Oculus Rift

My schedule over the weekend changed a bit for a couple of reasons. The first was due to the bitter cold yesterday that pushed all my activities to Saturday. The other was I picked up an Oculus Rift.

I have a Gear VR, and the Oculus Rift is definitely an upgrade. About the only drawback are the cables running from the headset to the computer. With a Gear VR, the Samsung phone fits in the headset, allowing freedom of movement. Another drawback is that my video card only has one HMDI port and no VGA port. I thought I needed to go back to Best Buy, but I finally found an adapter. I still intend to go back and pick up a real cable as a permanent solution, though.

The store didn't have any of the Touch controllers, which is probably good for my wallet. Not only because I did not spend an extra $200, but because all the cool new games seem to require the new controller. I'll probably get a set next year, but that depends on the games compatible with the Xbox One controller.

I know a lot of people complained about having an Xbox One controller come with the Oculus Rift because they already owned an Xbox. As someone who has never owned an Xbox console, the inclusion saved me some money. The one thing I feared is that my unfamiliarity with the controller would hamper using the system. So far, the games I played only use a couple of buttons and/or triggers, although I did forget the buttons on one of the games after just 24 hours.

I found the headset itself light and comfortable. Well, once I started playing anyway. The straps do get a bit distracting until the headset settles in, but I normally don't notice once I start playing. I should add I played for up to 90 minutes with no soreness in my neck or head. The sound system also works well, which helps with the emersion into the game worlds. I started looking for audio experiences like Oculus has available for the Gear VR. I didn't find one, but maybe looking through the store is easier at the keyboard instead of while wearing the headset.

As for the games, I only played two this weekend. The first was Lucky's Tale, a cute little VR platformer that comes with the Oculus Rift. The point of view sometimes is awkward, but after I got used to the angle, I came to appreciate it. The character you control, a fox, is also pretty cute. I'm someone who generally shies away from platformers, but I enjoyed clearing the first chapter of the game.

The other game I played is one I own on the Gear VR, EVE: Gunjack. At $9.99, I think the game is a good buy. Gunjack reminds me a bit of Galaga, with an EVE flavor. I know, power-ups in a game in New Eden? But the game works, especially with familar weapons like smart bombs, lasers, and missiles. As one might expect when comparing a game running on a smart phone vs a computer, the graphics are a lot better on the Oculus Rift. I also like the simple control system that only uses the two triggers plus the X button.

After the first couple of days, I'm happy with my purchase of the Oculus Rift. I still need to explore the store and find apps and games I like, but at least the gear itself works okay. I may write about my VR experiences in the future.

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