Oculus Rift and Star Wars: A Gamer’s Dream
Moments later, I was launched into space for multiplayer battle. It’s true that virtual reality headsets have been around for years, and I’ve actually used a couple of them myself, but the Oculus Rift is the realization of the virtual reality dream. There is no better way to put it: you are in the game. Everywhere I looked, including behind me, I saw my ship, space, the surrounding fleet, and the incoming enemy fighters. It not only looked gorgeous, it felt real.
All due respect to the impressive universe CCP has created with EVE Online, but in my mind, I was flying an X-Wing and hunting down TIE Fighters. “This is Red 5, I’m going in,” I thought to myself, my eyes wide behind the Oculus Rift visor. Come to I think of it, I might have actually said that out loud. Thanks for not laughing, CCP guys.
Let me take you back to 1980 again for a moment, when I was a freckle-faced six year old with uncooperative cowlicks, one in the front and one in the back, a year when a single quarter changed my life. That piece of change was inserted into a Pac-Man machine at the local ten-pin lanes in my single-stoplight hometown, and it served as the key that opened the door to the fantastical pixelated world of videogames. Changed my life, man. Like you, I’ve had numerous other near transcendent gaming experiences over the years but it’s been ages since any piece of hardware or software recreated that sense of childlike wonder.
Oculus Rift and EVR did it. In CCP’s small dark meeting room far from the bright lights and cacophony of the E3 show floor, that door was opened once more.
When the all-too brief gameplay demo ended, I immediately emailed, texted, and Tweeted friends, colleagues, and followers that, if they were at E3, they had to beg, borrow, or steal their way into the EVR demo. It was that special. The new consoles from Sony and Microsoft will certainly enhance games for many thanks to updated hardware, controllers, and games that take full advantage of them, but the only truly next generation piece of hardware at E3, the one that felt like a giant leap for gaming kind, was the Oculus Rift.
Now Disney (still feels odd to use them as the name behind Star Wars) just needs to get on board and make a new X-Wing with Oculus Rift support. Hell, I’d be thrilled with the originals updated with a new engine and Oculus Rift support – I actually might prefer it given the many Star Wars missteps over the years. But that’s a discussion for another day.
I have seen the future of gaming, and it is the Oculus Rift. Fingers and toes crossed it’s a future that takes me to a galaxy far, far away…
Mike Sharkey is a former GameSpy (RIP!) editor. He’s currently contributing to IGN and Game Front while mourning the Bruins’ loss in the Stanley Cup. Follow @mjsharkey on Twitter.