In a 1992 game called Kid Chameleon from Sega Genesis, one particular character (the head honcho of a VR game) starts to abduct players and trade them inside his game. The player, who takes on the role of the Kid, is assigned with the task of entering the virtual world of the game in a bid to save his friends.
The game does offer much by the way of 1980’s charm, with the Kid donning a leather jacket and a pair of sunglasses. However, at its heart, Kid Chameleon is a simple game. It’s fairly easy to play, although its graphical style heads off in numerous different directions without ever really standing out in any one. The one constant that runs throughout the game is the idea of what it might feel like to be inside a video game.
For as long as we’ve been exposed to computers generating new worlds, we’ve been intrigued by the idea of living inside a computer-generated immersive world. There’s an instant attraction. While what we do inside that world might feel real, there ear no dire consequences to fear.
Every Mario-style moustache, every window we jump through, and every NBA ball we dunk would become just mere experiences as part of our virtual life but being laughed at for our ridiculous facial hair or an inability to dunk that ball would never come to fruition. We would have new standards for interactive gaming and we would wonder about what just might come next.
For now, VR and AR are enabling us to experience life like we always dreamed it might be. We’ll likely be exposed to some wonderful artwork. We’ll feel more entertained. And as some serious technology will continue to be needed, some people will become very, very rich.
While high stakes are at play, we’re already in the middle of the gold rush. AR is now a feature of Apple’s latest iPhones and the tech giant will likely release a full headset soon enough. Oculus has all the funding it needs, thanks to Facebook.
Problems to overcome
Of course, whenever high stakes are involved, a fear of failure is never too far away. For every PSVR and Oculus, there are Snapchat Spectacles and Virtual Boy. While AR and VR might be at an advanced level when it comes to technology, some of its problems have been extremely basic.
Even when the opportunity of superhero-like powers is dangled right in front of us, for instance, we’re never likely to feel 100% comfortable wearing a large and heavy headset while actual reality carries on without us.
While improvements have been made in the eradication of motion sickness, we aren’t completely there yet. Google Glass was abandoned due to issues surrounding privacy. Omnipresent AR remains an issue for that very reason. Of course, an AR/VR setup is just one more thing to purchase, so it needs to be seen as a long-term asset, as opposed to being just another fad.