These goggles are made for walking

I’ve written about it before: as much as I love virtual reality and its sense of immersion, we haven’t quite arrived at the holodeck yet. You can’t really touch things, though with the right kind of controllers implemented well it’s amazing how well you can fool your brain into believing that you’re actually holding that floppy disk, handgun or lightsaber in VR. However, what is much more difficult, at least in the comfort of your home, is walking. Sure, you can walk a few steps depending on how much space you have, but after more than a metre or two you’re likely to bang into a wall. And since few people live in empty warehouses or vast, echoing halls, not to mention the cable by which you’re generally attached to the PC, developers generally have to find workarounds.


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I’m Walkin’, Yes Indeed

In video games, you’re usually in a hurry. You’re saving the world, trying to save the president’s daughter – or, on the other side of the spectrum, you’re running away from the cops after robbing the First Bank of Los Santos or, if you’re less criminally inclined, a horde of infected intent on tearing out your throat. Under these circumstances, it makes sense that the player’s first instinct is to look for the run button or sprint command. More than that, though, so many games are about getting from A to B. This kind of behaviour is reinforced by secondary objectives like “Get to da choppa in less than 2:00” or by rewards inversely proportional to the time you took to do what you were supposed to.

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