May 21 of this year saw the launch of Oculus Quest, which is the less advanced VR gaming headset, which Oculus has released for the mass market. It also happens to be wireless and lets you move around in all directions without being hooked up to a computer.
Sales of this new device went through the roof throughout late May and Early June as the new games device, which is produced in partnership by Oculus and Facebook surprised even its creators by the amount of interest in the device.
Late last week. I managed to purchase myself a 64Gig version of the device and tried it for the first time and found myself completely blown away by how immersed I was. Setting the device up was a breeze once had created an account on my mobile phone and run through the initial setup. I was in a VR environment within minutes.
The first thing I did was purchase and download a few games and apps and one of the first things I got for myself was BoxVR, which is a Boxing workout application that has you do a workout where you are placed in a virtual gym. This is a serious workout application, which allows you to set up your daily target and calculate how many calories you have burned after each session. The actual workouts have been developed by real trainers and have you jabbing, hooking, doing uppercuts and ducking and diving to the beat of the music. I’m not in good shape and haven’t been for some time, but I did used to work out regularly in my 20s and 30s. I did one of the 15-minute sessions on this game and I was both left panting and dripping with sweat. The following day I did 30 minutes and was aching like hell the day after. So this is a serious workout. But it is also serious fun.
Other Apps and Games I got included Tilt Brush, which is a really fun art package that allows you to draw pictures in 360 degrees. Which is awesome because you can literally wall around your own drawings and inspect them from every angle.
In terms of games, I have Star Wars: Vader Immortal, which have not tried yet and Space Pirate Trainer. The latter of those two is like your classic space invaders style game from the 80s, which works really well. It adds to the urgency of taking the pesky ships out when they appear to be much more real. For my money Space Pirate Trainer has to be one of the best launch titles on Oculus Quest. This along with BoxVR has been among the games I have returned to.
Bigscreen is also a good experience with several settings for you to enjoy media that other people stream via their computers. Unfortunately, there is no support for Mac Users to be able to stream their content on Bigscreen. But I’ve been quite happy checking out what other people are streaming, which can range from old classic episodes of Doctor Who to Captain America: Winter Soldier, which I watched last night in 3D. Bigscreen also has a social aspect to it in which people can open and run their own chat rooms, which is something that has been quite hit and miss for me. But it has been pretty good for viewing what other people are showing whether it be their games or movies.
Although. I have loved messing around in VR with my Oculus Quest. There are a few downsides to it. First off the battery when fully charged only really allows for 2 to 3 hours usage depending on what you are doing. Also, the controllers for the system require AA Batteries. All this said there are a couple of solutions to these issues that are widely discussed in the various Oculus Quest communities that you will find online.
The good news is though is that there are quite a lot of Free apps and experiences for your Oculus Quest right from the go. These include Vr Chat, Rec Room and a number of other titles. And if you do want to commit to buying a few games right away. There are over 40 titles to choose from with new releases coming out most weeks.
All this said. My experience of the Oculus Quest has been fairly positive and I don’t use steam and cannot really use Virtual Desktop because it does not support Mac. But just based on the applications and games that I have messed around with. I’ve enjoyed my first steps into Virtual Reality and will be talking more about it with a series of features and hopefully some interviews in the future. So please watch this space.