I pretty much squealed when I read The Real Way to Play Rez Infinite: in a VR Vibrating Suit today in Wired Magazine. Game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi re-designed the Playstation 2 awesomeness that is Rez to integrate a VR vibrating suit and a headset. For those of you who haven’t tried, Rez is a musical shooter game. I’m sure this description is enough to puzzle a lot of people, so I give you a quote from the author of the Wired article, describing his experiences with the game in the bodysuit:
“Things start off subtle at first, but soon, the many, many actuators and rumblers on the suit are hitting me on my chest, arms, and legs with each beat of the music. It’s remarkably synchronized. Every Rez player knows that little pattern of quick beats that you hear when you fire all of your rhythmic shots at a single object. Now I feel each individual one of those rapid-fire beats,bapbapbapbapbap on my body.”
As is the case with a lot of tech-related articles, the first reaction is always:”Yup, they did it, it’s happening”. The individual outlandish visions of our generation from years ago, banter amongst friends resulting in silly giggles: “What if they made Rez in actual VR, like, make your body vibrate and stuff?” “What if they made gps for your phone, and you could just carry it around?” “What if you could read your lecture pdfs on a hand-held device, wherever you go?” “What if you could tour a house without actually being there?”
What seemed entertaining yet ridiculous ten or even five years ago are becoming everyday realities. We are so used to many of these advances that we are not even aware of how sci-fi fantasy these inherently are. We spend way too much time on the toilet because instead of shampoo bottles, we read world news and watch videos of people pranking each other on our phones (or it could just be me). This phone takes an ridiculously short time to charge, and provides an unlimited stream of information and entertainment throughout the day. How magical is that? Tell that to the person getting frustrated over the Nokia snake game circa 2002 (me).
Earlier this week, B. and I met up with a friend, E., who is in real estate. We did a demo with the Tourly app and adaptor with E. As I watched E. explore the app like a curious kid, it occurred to me how accessible and simple once outlandish ideas have become.
Experience immersive virtual reality in a crowded little coffee shop, with nothing but an inexpensive cardboard headset and your own phone? Yaaas! This is the age of the flattening out of technological hierarchy, most of the really impressive stuff out there is still unattainable to the average user, yet here is this amazing vr adapter that lets you experience virtual reality.
You don’t need a studio, it doesn’t cost your car, and there isn’t need to read a big manual or learn anything new at all. Pop the phone in the headset, that’s it, you’re done. They say Google Cardboard is the democratizer of virtual reality; they are right.
This is how the Wired author summed up his Rez Infinite gaming experience: "All your senses are perceiving the stimuli in harmony, and, if the magic takes hold, you feel something greater than the sum of all its parts.”
Virtual reality experiences are indeed very gestaltish; the sum of the parts are always greater than its whole, you're no longer looking, you are feeling, you are being. By moving one step forward from Rez HD, Mizuguchi took his musical shooter to a whole new level. Not that what we are doing is anywhere near as cool as Mizuguchi (excuse the fangirling), but we do want to take virtual reality tours one step further in that direction. Mirroring intense developments of VR technology as the next level of experiencing and entertaining, immersive real estate tours are the natural progression from the current industry standard.