Isabella Loskutoff ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
The Oculus Rift is all the rage in the video game world as it offers gamers a new meaning to the term first person shooter. The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset and the first product of Oculus VR, a company in Irvine, CA founded by Palmer Luckey. Oculus VR received funding for the Rift from Kickstarter through donations from everyday virtual reality enthusiasts all the way to big name gaming companies like Vavle, Epic Games, and Unity.
Oculus VR has started to release the Oculus Rift Development Kit, the first generation Rift headset that supports games such as Minecraft, Half-Life 2, and a guillotine simulator. Put the headset on and you are instantly absorbed into the world of your choice. Want to play Minecraft? Set the Rift comfortably around your head and journey into the 8 bit world of zombies, creepers, and, your arch nemesis: skeletons. The gamer is still required to use the keyboard and/or mouse to move and do any damage, but in game vision is controlled by turning the head right and left. During my Minecraft session I punched trees, dirt, and sheep (sorry sheep) and when I looked right, left, or down my body was that of my cube-like Minecraft avatar. Half-Life 2 is a recent addition to the games supported by the Rift, and many audience members are rejoicing. Who wouldn’t want to become Gordon Freeman and beat a headcrab zombie into a bloody pulp with a neon orange crowbar? Many users of the Oculus Rift are calling for the system’s support of games like Rage, Pokemon Snap, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
The headset has gotten multiple reviews of praise, and Youtube users are posting comical videos of their friends using the system. My favorites are the videos of people using the guillotine simulator. In the simulator the “Rifter” (headset user) is forced to lay their neck down on the wooden guillotine. As you look up and around you see the crowd cheering your imminent death and the executioner looking down at you. The guillotine blade glistens in the sun, and in an instant it flies down at you slicing your head from your neck causing the vision in the Rift to roll around on the ground. Some videos depict the Rifter’s friends lightly karate chopping their necks as the guillotine swings downward, making the Rifter shutter and instantly remove the headset.
If you get the opportunity to use the Oculus Rift, do it. Its brilliant design immerses users into various worlds giving the video game world a new edge. The development kit costs about as much as a new console gaming system, and new shipments of the Oculus Rift are said to be sent out in August of 2013.