Gamerama and Occulus

Yesterday, Gateshead College hosted their annual Gamerama, a small convention where the students showcase some of their work, and this year, I was delighted to try out the newest wave of VR, the Oculus.

There were a few cool demos, including a Star Wars X-Wing shooter, and a horror game in which you wander around and try not to soil yourself. One of the coolest things there, however, was probably what the students had made. Relatively simple, it was a 3D map of the college, down to a tee.

The Oculus is both cool, and a little odd. The feeling of immersion is definitely there, especially in the context of a horror game.

Think about it. How awful but amazing it would be to have Outlast on Oculus, how immersive and horrifying it would be. The whole reason Oculus is being developed is to enhance the gaming experience, to give you that something extra you couldn’t get with just headphones and looking at a screen.

The Oculus has potentially hundreds of games that it could enhance. From things like Fallout to Elite: Dangerous, anything first person would benefit. It’s a brilliant tool for gamers, developers, and maybe even artists. It’s come a long way since the dev kit in 2012-13.

however, while many good things could come of the VR tech, we have to consider a number of things, first of which is the price.

There was a huge uproar last month (Jan 2016) when the retail price was released at $600 (approx £400), after the devs said that it would be less than $300. Now, £600 is more than a next-gen console, and to actually use the Oculus, you need more than one graphics card in your PC, and a damn good one at that.

It’s a great piece of kit, and the college is lucky to have them, but whether they’re suitable for the average gamer is still to be seen.

Oh, and I met some Stormtroopers.


And a Bounty Hunter.

And a Jawa.