Image by is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) - cropped to fit ratio
four minutes read

37/55 - Virtually Real

So, still in the 2014 part of my backlog I was reading through this great piece by Chelsea Stark on Mashable named Misled Memories. Now this was in 2014, the year Facebook bought Oculus Rift and maybe VR was on it’s way to mainstream life.

My very first experience with VR was actually some 20 years earlier, on the London Trocadero arcade and this is exactly what it was :)

Note: the original videos were removed, these are the slightly different ones, less VR related

As far as I remember, the game was Grid Busters from Virtuality, and as any arcade game, what I remember was that it was over way to quickly and that, against my fears for VR at the time, I didn’t felt compelled to throw up. Now, it’s funny to me how that went, I was very young at the time and the Internet was not the Hype Machine it is today so I was slightly oblivious to it until I saw it, but to see VR in an Arcade felt pretty much mainstream at the time, except it wasn’t, and it wasn’t very good, and it felt like VR vanished from my conscience as swiftly as it has entered it. That is, until Oculus DK1 came along, the Hype Machine was pretty ready by then.

Now, the one obvious theme for VR for now is, GAMES, GAMES GAMES GAMES and while we’ll probably see a bit of shoehorning of regular GAMES into the medium because VR, some of the classic games do feel like they benefit from VR a lot

While others are being made 100% with VR in mind from the ground up

But that’s not what the article was all about, this is consumer stuff that represents the absolute safe path for VR to go forward and that’s fine, but there are other uses. One is activism, namely they talk about a few projects from Nonny de la Peña under the Immersive Journalism moniker. Like Forensic Architecture, although with a more local scope, Nonny and her team use technology to bring visibility and empathy:

Certain anxieties may benefit from VR aided therapy

Heck, there’s a Social Network where you can, wait for it, TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AS IF THEY WERE NEAR YOU!!!

We’re living VR 2.0, and as with any technology there’s one piece of advice that holds true for as long as we’re a species

When digital filters first arose they were viewed merely as a variant of the classical analog filters; people did not see them as essentially new and different. This is exactly the same mistake which was made endlessly by people in the early days of computers. I was told repeatedly, until I was sick of hearing it, computers were nothing more than large, fast desk calculators. “Anything you can do by a machine you can do by hand.”, so they said. This simply ignores the speed, accuracy, reliability, and lower costs of the machines vs. humans. Typically a single order of magnitude change (a factor of 10) produces fundamentally new effects, and computers are many, many times faster than hand computations. Those who claimed there was no essential difference never made any significant contributions to the development of computers…

This is a common, endlessly made, mistake; people always want to think that something new is just like the past – they like to be comfortable in their minds as well as their bodies – and hence they prevent themselves from making any significant contribution to the new field being created under their noses.

Richard Hamming: The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

me, I’m waiting out to play Real Life from the confort of my seat