Windows Mixed Reality

Double Jump Kris MiiAs a kid, joining the heroes in my video games was a mere dream. Those dreams cultivated my love of writing, my creativity, but we now have virtual reality video games to bring us a step closer. While there are already a few VR systems out there, there is another that is joining the party.

dell-visor-laptop-desk_1000

 

There are several well-known virtual reality systems on the market right now — HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard — but there is another that will be starting to ship out next month. Microsoft has developed a virtual reality platform what they’re calling Windows Mixed Reality and, honestly, it doesn’t look too bad.

Honestly, I’m a little skeptical when it comes to VR systems, mostly because I grew up with my parents telling me, “Don’t sit so close to the television when playing games, you’ll hurt your eyes!” Seeing VR systems more or less appear to be giant goggles that sit right on your head with screens to rest a couple of inches in front of your eyes made me question my parents’ concerns. However, the idea of VR — not to mention augmented reality — intrigues me enough to put down a VR system on my wish list.

With the exception of the fifteen dollar Google Cardboard, most VR systems are a little pricey, usually ranging between 400 to 600 dollars. Microsoft’s system, simply called Visor, is about $450 if you package the system with the controllers. However, there are reports boasting about the Visor’s comfort and clarity, and it’s supposed to be compatible with Steam games as well. It’s something that I want to keep an eye on in the news, to see if more game developers believe in Microsoft’s Mixed Reality dreams as well.

Picking up a VR system will be something I do one day, after I save up some extra money to splurge on it, along with games that I’m interested in playing. I would adore a virtual reality version of Pokemon. Perhaps one that enables you to connect with others who may be playing, so you can see their avatars through your VR window as well. Legend of Zelda would be a great series, but I’m not too keen on navigating through the Water Temple or encountering a Redead!

Do you have a virtual reality system? Which one do you have? Or are you thinking of investing in one anytime soon?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Advertisements

Dream Harry Potter Game

Double Jump Kris MiiIf you’re a Harry Potter fan, guess what? It’s Harry’s birthday today!

Besides gaming, I’m also a big reader, and the Harry Potter series is a favorite of mine. There’s a television channel called Freeform that never needs a big excuse to run a Harry Potter movie marathon. It tends to play at our house whenever the marathon happens, usually in the background in the kitchen, and it’s the kind of series that makes my family feel warm and fuzzy inside, no matter what medium it’s in.

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling is massive. Everyone knows who Harry Potter is. The series spans across so many mediums — the books, the movies, toys and, yes, video games.

Most of the Harry Potter video games are the usual licensed games, the ones where you control the main character through the story, sometimes with glitches or weird controls. People eat them up enough, though, if only to get that taste of performing magic at Hogwarts.

With Virtual Reality becoming a main form of gaming on the market nowadays, I’m curious if franchises such as Harry Potter will ever reach that platform. The game would be massive, of course, even if it only allows the player to go through one year at Hogwarts. A Choose Your Own Adventure type of visual novel, if you will, it could start off with a small quiz (or choice) to allow the character to get sorted. Classes can be small mini games, allowing players to level up with their magic, with a larger plot looming in the background. There can be key main NPCs that your character interacts with, his or her or they’re choices affecting how well you maintain your relationship with the NPCs.

Perhaps we can’t all be Harry Potter, but I wouldn’t mind playing a character that joins Dumbledore’s Army and defends the Wizarding World against Death Eaters.

It’s just a thought. Whenever we do get a chance to purchase a decent Virtual Reality system, the Harry Potter world is definitely a place that I want to visit.

Do you enjoy Harry Potter? What kind of series or world do you think may adapt well to Virtual Reality? Anyone know if this will be an actual thing one day?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Mario Kart in Virtual Reality

Double Jump Kris MiiMario Kart is such a classic franchise, spanning from the Super Nintendo Entertainment all the way to the Switch port. The rosters have evolved from simply choosing between eight characters to deciding the driver, the kart, the wheels, the glider. Now there seems to be another way to play the game…

There is a virtual reality Mario Kart arcade game. My stomach is already doing barrel-rolls at the very idea of it, but despite any fears of nausea, a VR Mario Kart sounds like so much fun!

Presently, this game is only available in an arcade in Japan, but who knows if it’ll become available internationally at some point in the future. Having Nintendo dabble in virtual reality games just makes me excited to think of a Legend of Zelda or Pokemon VR game!

Also, that hammer item just looks like fun! Why don’t we have that in the latest version of Mario Kart?

What do you think of playing Mario Kart in Virtual Reality? What other franchises should go the VR route?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

Video Game Novels

Double Jump Kris MiiAnd it’s another week… How’s everyone doing on this fine Monday?

Rachel and I pretty much want to be done with our day jobs, haha! We would love to spend our days gaming, reading, and writing. And when you can combine all your favorite hobbies into one? It’s the best!

 

Remember when you were younger and your parents wanted you to read more books rather than spend all of your free time playing video games? Video games themselves have become such a big industry, reaching wider audiences and rightfully being treated as an art form. It makes sense that authors try to reach that same audience with novels set in video game worlds.

unofficialminecraftersadventure_gameknight999_trilogyI’ve definitely picked up some novels from Barnes and Noble simply because they’re set in game worlds. Mark Cheverton has a couple of series set in Minecraft, for example. They’re mostly aimed at a younger audience with lessons about cyberbullying, but it was a fun little trip to the world of Minecraft. 9781932796803_p0_v2_s192x300

R.A. Salvatore is an author known for his science fiction writing, with his credentials including stories taking place in the Dungeons & Dragons lore, like his Legend of Drizzt. (Not only has he authored novels, he’s also written stories for video games themselves, such as Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone for the XBox, Playstation 2, and PC.)

Ernest Cline has Ready Player One and Armada, both based on gaming worlds. Julia Durango authored The Leveller, Mark Alpert has The Six, Holly Jennings wrote Arena… There are a plethora of books out there that take place in video game settings. It’s amazing to me how far the video game industry reaches other art mediums!

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any other recommendations for books that take place in video game worlds?

Connect with us:
Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

VR Pitfalls

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, folks!

Talking again about virtual reality, this post is mainly about my reservations about this section of the video game market. Virtual reality is amazing, but there is definitely room for improvement…

Google has joined the smart phone race with their new Pixel phone. I think it looks pretty good, and I’m not ruling it out the next time I need to upgrade my phone, but I also realized that Google has a VR headset — called Daydream — to go with the Pixel.

It made me realize that there’s quite a few VR sets out there on the market. The Vive, the Playstation VR, Samsung Gear VR, Google’s Daydream… As a kid, virtual reality was a distant dream. Now, we suddenly have all these options, all these companies vying for a piece of the action.

Virtual Reality headsets are, more or less, special goggles that go right in front of your eyes. As a kid, Mom and Dad constantly told me not to sit so close to the television lest my eyes get ruined (and now I wear glasses for distance — coincidence?). The VR headsets just toss that piece of advice out the window.

With that said, do these VR headsets have a time limit? Being immersed in a video game such as that for so long isn’t healthy at all. If the headsets have, say, an hour time limit, that may be good. Perhaps that’s why the Batman: Arkham VR is only about an hour long.

The wires and set up can be dangerous as well. Virtual Reality games tend not to have the player move much, avoiding the danger of tripping over wires and speakers, but the immersion aspect is ruined. Maybe one day there will be a VR set that has a treadmill-like mat, one that allows the player to walk around in place.

Overall, I would still love to try out virtual reality games, but I’m also eager to see how this particular corner of the video game market will improve over time.

 

Virtually Endless Possibilities

Double Jump Kris MiiSee what I did in the title there? I’m very punny.

Virtual reality video games are rising on the market, and imagining what beloved franchises can do with the technology is amazing. What kind of games do you hope for on the virtual reality market?

 

The other day I found a video showing off Minecraft on Samsung’s Gear VR. The video itself wasn’t anything too special — it was a video showing exactly what we would see on a computer monitor or television screen, and watching it from a monitor didn’t really help — but it did get me wondering as to what kind of games I would like to play in virtual reality.

Pokemon and the Legend of Zelda were automatic additions to this “VR Wishlist” I was writing in my head. Exploring the vast worlds in those franchises would be heaven, with Pokemon having the cities and wildernesses to trudge through, finding and battling Pokemon in exciting fights. Seeing the gorgeous landscapes of Hyrule across your vision before taking sword in hand to defend it is every Zelda fan’s dream!

Other franchises I was thinking of included superhero-centric ones, such as Batman. As I learned today, Batman: Arkham VR is actually a thing. As a kid, growing up to be Batman was one of my dreams, and being a detective in gritty Gotham sounds exciting with the help of VR!

…Until, of course, we see Killer Croc come charging at us from a dark alley or something.

Not too keen on the idea of traversing through the Legend of Zelda’s Water Temple with VR either… Or encountering a giant Dragon-type Pokemon in a dark cave…

Huh. Well, I suppose the point of virtual reality is immersion, right?

Virtual Reality

Double Jump Kris MiiSo, there’s this thing called a Vive…

Developed by the company HTC and Valve, the Vive is a virtual reality video game console, allowing you to play games completely immersed. Have you gotten the chance to try out virtual reality yet?

Virtual reality is more of a reality nowadays than it ever has been before. Rachel and I were recently introduced to a nifty contraption called the Vive while we watching a couple of our favorite gaming YouTubers. On PBGGameplay, PBG and Jeff showed off the Vive with a few games, one involving zombies and the other being Job Simulator, while PBG himself did a general video on it on his main channel.

From what we could see, the Vive seemed amazing. The guys were completely immersed in the games (even stumbling and falling when they forgot the counter or wall that they were trying to hold onto wasn’t really there), and there didn’t seem to be many flaws in the controls. Although Rachel and I weren’t too sure about the zombie game, considering neither of us are thrilled with that genre, we were definitely impressed with the Vive.

Seeing the videos got Rachel and me discussing what kind of games we would love to see on virtual reality. One of our top picks was Pokemon, of course. Imagine traveling and battling with your Pokemon and, if there are multiplayer or online options, being able to journey with your friends. Open world fantasy games would also be amazing, or a game where you are your own superhero (did anyone else play City of Heroes by NCSOFT when it was around?).

What if there was a game where you were the villain…?

At $800 bucks from the developers (and a couple of more hundred dollars from Amazon!), we’re not going to be getting one anytime soon, but a Vive will be hanging out at the bottom of our wish lists for some time.

What about you? What are your thoughts on virtual reality? Any certain game worlds you’d love to be thrown in the middle of?