No Marathon Gaming Here: The Untold Truth About VR Sickness
We have all waited for this moment for a long, long time. The hype around VR has been huge for about a decade now, but it seems that platform is finally reaching the home, and gamers are lining up to don the cowl of Batman and to fight off demons in virtual haunted houses in droves. And who can blame us gamers and geeks for being excited about this moment? VR takes the idea of games one step further by actually placing you inside the worlds, with no separation from real life. Some Black Mirror type of shit. The TRULY immersive gaming we have all been waiting for. Just think about it. Putting on a virtual helmet in a Skyrim type game and just spending hours and hours pillaging in other worlds without repercussion. When it gets to be too much, just pop off the headset and come back to real life. But there is some fine print to VR gaming (per usual) that no one is talking about. The kicker is, you won’t actually be able to scour around virtual landscapes for hours at a time, forgetting about your real life because of a little thing called VR sickness that more and more people are “coming out” about. Put it this way, the new Batman VR game is about an hour long to beat. Yup, full priced game for an hour long experience that we would even bitch about, length wise, even if it was DLC. But do you know WHY the game is only an hour?
VR sickness, my friends. The ruiner of all our future fun. If the game was any longer, you would be covered in your own vomit, head to toe (also geek side note, the games are very expensive to make). So VR gaming is…..
Essentially, A Very Expensive Motion Sickness Creator
Yes, we want to wear Batman’s cowl. We ALL want to wear the cowl, seriously. That thought has crossed every geek’s mind at one point. We thought the Rocksteady Arkham series would be about as close as we would ever come, and we were wrong. Come to find out, the whole time they were working on those games they were also working on a game for the Playstation VR that would finally and literally let gamers and geeks don the famous Batman cowl.
In theory, that is about as awesome an announcement as you can get in our field of work. But the game comes out and wouldn’t you know it, it really isn’t quite the VR experience people thought it would be. You solve some crimes, peep around the batcave, get into a couple fights, and that’s that. Do not get me wrong, it is very cool, but something happens during the fight scenes (and a lot of other VR games) that people need to know about. People are throwing up. Because of the frame rate during these fights and how much and how quickly you are looking around and processing, you start getting nauseous. And while I thought it might be me and my penchant for motion sickness (I hate me some boat rides, yo), come to find out, this is a “thing” and more and more gamers are experiencing it and realizing that this could be a huge problem with these games, especially for marathon, hardcore gamers who like to game for hours and hours at a time (like me).
Here is another example of a gamer being shocked by how sick VR made him feel:
First of all, let me jerk myself off real quick because no one else will. Note how the first video is Batman VR and the second videos subtitle is “holy motion sickness, Batman.” Do not think that shit is a coincidence. I am damn good at what I do, even if ya’ll never say that. Public masturbation aside, did you watch the above video of dude playing the racing game in VR? Did it seem akin to actual racing? I have been in a car going 100 MPH before (against my will, of COURSE, and I surely was NOT the one driving, heh heh) and you do not need to vomit or close your eyes. Yes, it can be jarring, but it does not make you need a puke bucket. But what about the result of the above driving game? So wait, fighting AND driving are out already, and we don’t even own a VR system yet? This is not good, which is exactly why…
Gamers NEED To Know This Before They Spend Hundreds On A New VR Console They May Not Even Be Able to Use For More Than Minutes at a Time
Now keep in mind, you are talking about game consoles that are going in price range from 450 dollars to 800 dollars. So you are asking people to spend close to a grand on a VR headset, even though the longest games so far have all been about an hour and most people who have played them have talked about the shit stain on VR that is VR sickness? Nah, that aint cool. We are not a rich lot. We do not have hundreds to spend on something we may not be able to use. At least I don’t. I can speak for myself in the very least.
Do you see why I wrote this now?
Hell, even I was saving up for a slick Vr headset, but was lucky enough to play a copy of Batman because I know some important, kind people I can speak for both sides. Yes, putting on the cowl (there is a whole scene for this in game that is fantastic to say the least) makes you feel like a fucking God for a minute. It really is a transformative experience for Batman fans, it summons goosebumps, and a gaming experience that cannot truly be summed up in words. But, the same can be said for the nauseous moments. Last thing you want when playing a game is feeling like you need to hurl, and if hour long games with broken up segments can summon that, do you actually think there are gonna be any games on these consoles that don’t do that? Oh, and don’t even get me started on the 60 frames-per-second FPS genre and how that will play out in VR. Here, I will give you a visual hint:
Yeah, kinda like that, only in your living room and the people being puked on will be your friends and family and whoever else gathered for their turns on the fun new VR console. And do not make the mistake of thinking this is game only. Oh no, you will also feel it during awesome things like watching Hardcore Henry in VR:
Think I am bullshitting? Make yourself a pair right now (for fucking free), attach it to your phone, watch the above trailer a few times in a row and tell me I am wrong. Really, it is that easy. I even linked it for you. Here, this video is especially made for the free Google cutout. Check it out and lemme know what you think:
The reality is, this new gaming fad is not going to be the dream we all thought it would be. It is going to be a gastrointestinal nightmare, actually.
The Only Games We Will Be Able to Enjoy Will Be Kinda Slow and Lame (At First)
The end result, and the smartest developers have already figured this out, is they will have to make games that are more “chill” which is hard to pull off and make successful as hardcore gamers do not always like chill (Journey being a game that is one of a few exceptions). So they need to think outside the box. Things like slow, deep-sea exploration would be cool (especially if they made it creepy with deep sea beasts that human eyes hath never before seen). Sharks are cool, too:
Now that works, is incredibly tense, and does not cause the player to have a seizure or need to vomit in 360 like the little girl from The Exorcist. Another decent (slow) example of a better way to use VR:
But in some ways, some of it looks almost too chill. Now take me to space and let me free float and try not to shit my pants? Yeah, I am down for that:
So see, there ARE ways to think outside the box and still make this platform and the VR revolution work. But do not go in this with the wrong idea. This will not be The Matrix we have all been waiting for. The true games we love (FPS, horror, racing) will not work well in VR, and we need to accept that now so that when this all goes mainstream we don’t turn into a bunchy of whiny, angry nerds which we have proven ourselves capable of before.
The simple reality here is…
VR Gaming Will Be in Short Bursts and Likely Will Be Better Utilized in Future Years (but Take Some Dramamine Before You Play in The Meantime)
Over the next few years developers will get a better grasp on what works in VR gaming and what makes people gag, but in the meantime, approach all this with two bits of information in mind. One, this will be cool, but will most likely NOT be what you expected and will not be fully immersive without some intestinal consequences.
Two, you can seriously help this by taking Dramamine. Not kidding. Not Pushing some illegal shit on you. You can get this stuff at the local pharmacy and my suggestion right now for you all would be to invest in Dramamine stock, because that shit is gonna be skyrocketing in the next few years. For those unaware, Dramamine kills motion sickness, meaning, popping a few of these may just make marathon gaming in VR more possible.
See kids, Mr. Garrison was wrong. Not all drugs are mad, MKay?