I experienced the future of gaming, and it’s called virtual reality.
Why’s it so much better? Just imagine actually being inside the video game while you’re playing it.
Want to check it out for yourself? You can, right here on EKU’s campus. It’s called Oculus Rift, and you can play it in Tech Commons in the Powell Building.
To play the game, all you have to do is put on a piece of headgear that has headphones built into it and then grab two controllers, one for each hand. It is shocking how real the video game feels while you are playing. You put on the gear, and you’re instantly inside a virtual world, much like being in a cartoon. When you turn your head to the right or the left, you turn your head in the virtual world. It’s as if you’re there.
The controllers are unlike the controllers for Xbox or PlayStation. They’re like using your actual hands to perform the tasks in the game—and with very little learning curve. For example, to climb a wall, press the buttons and pretend your climbing a wall. And just like that, your character does what you want it to do.
I’ve tried other virtual reality gaming systems, but Oculus Rift was different. With the other systems, you could play only a few select games. With Oculus Rift, you have a wider variety of games, everything from sports to war to building games, where you can construct buildings or even villages.
Want to play? It’s easy. All you have to do is go to Tech Commons with your student ID and ask if you can play and they will let you go at it. Another good thing about the game is that there is no time limit for how long you can play. The only time there would be a restriction on your time with the game is if there is a crowd of people waiting to play.
The hours available to play the game are the same exact hours that Tech Commons is open. The hours are Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
As a part of my experience with Oculus Rift, I talked with Richard Martin. Martin is a Geek Coordinator who helps students who want to enjoy some of the fun technology that EKU has to offer.
“I personally love the system,” Martin said. “It is amazing that it feels like you are actually inside of the video game.”
EKU purchased the game system at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, but the system has been available for students to use only since the middle of the Fall 2016 semester, Martin said.
The staff members at Tech Commons said they are excited about the game, and Martin said that the whole reason they decided to invest in this system was to give students something fun to try out without having plunk down the $600 that it would cost to purchase the system.
Martin said the Oculus Rift system hasn’t caught on yet with the student body. Turnout typically is only about one or two students per week, Martin said. He added, however, that the system is bound to get more popular.