Penn and Teller's Desert Bus, the worst videogame ever made, gets a VR reboot

In 1995, Penn and Teller released Desert Bus, the worst game ever made, a "VeriSimulator" that challenged you to keep a bus moving between the white lines on an eight-hour Arizona/Nevada drive. If you made it, you got to spend another 8 hours driving back. The bus had just enough veer in its steering that you had to correct it periodically, so you couldn't just tape the controller button down. Read the rest

Laurie Anderson's VR experience 'Chalkroom' allows you to fly through stories

Artists are creating experiences in virtual reality, and it's especially exciting to hear that multimedia pioneer Laurie Anderson has entered this space. With Taiwanese new media artist Hsin-Chien Huang, she has created "Chalkroom" (aka "La Camera Insabbiata"), an immersive virtual reality experience that lets its viewers to fly through words and stories.

Prompted by this interview with the Louisiana Museum, Open Culture writes:

The piece allows viewers the opportunity to travel not only into the space of imagination a story creates, but into the very architecture of story itself—to walk, or rather float, through its passageways as words and letters drift by like tufts of dandelion, stars, or, as Anderson puts it, like snow. “They’re there to define the space and to show you a little bit about what it is,” says the artist in the interview above, “But they’re actually fractured languages, so it’s kind of exploded things.” She explains the “chalkroom” concept as resisting the “perfect, slick and shiny” aesthetic that characterizes most computer-generated images. “It has a certain tactility and made-by-hand kind of thing… this is gritty and drippy and filled with dust and dirt.”

Chalkroom, she says, "is a library of stories, and no one will ever find them all.” It sounds to me, at least, more intriguing than the premise of most video games, but the audience for this piece will be limited, not only to those willing to give it a chance, but to those who can experience the piece firsthand, as it were, by visiting the physical space of one of Anderson’s exhibitions and strapping on the VR goggles.

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Play: a VR "lurking simulator" set on Toronto Island where you're "part coral reef, part Cthulhu"

Filmmaker/writer/games developer Jim "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" Munroe (previously) has just launched his first VR venture. Manimal Sanctuary is a "lurking simulator" that "leverages low-end VR technology to enable every player’s ultimate fantasy: to play a creature part coral reef, part Cthulhu, who consumes human emotions. Set after the rest of the city is consumed by gibbering monstrosities, you eavesdrop on the survivors and their dramas involving things like bad potato crops and graffiti tags. And if those everyday emotions aren’t filling enough, you can always uncover some devastating secrets…" Read the rest

KFC's phenomenally creepy Bio-Shock-esque VR training video

This is insane. RELEASE THE BIRDS!

KFC has given us a lot of really odd advertising, but this really something. Read the rest

Arnold Böcklin's Isle of the Dead as a VR experience

German Swiss painter Arnold Böcklin reimagined "Tomb Island" over and over, pursuing both the scene's dark mystery and its runaway commercial appeal: with the title improved by a canny agent, it became the first great fantasy art wall print. And soon you'll be able to explore each of the variations in virtual reality.

There's precious little to tease the project beyond the trailer embedded above, but I always thought Tomb Island would be the perfect setting for a retro Myst-style mystery adventure game and it looks like I'm going to get exactly what I want.

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Bruce Sterling in 1994, talking about crypto backdoors and the future of VR

Here's a 30-minute keynote that Bruce Sterling gave in 1994 to the ICA's "Towards the Aesthetics of the Future" VR conference in London. You should watch it, if only for the insight it gives into the early years of today's most contested technology questions. Read the rest

First-person 360 VR: You are an Alien neomorph bursting from a chest

In VR, everyone can hear you scream.

(Oculus, Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Google Daydream, and other mobile VR devices)

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Creepy satirical VR ad pitches cyberpunk thriller

Harsh Reality is a short movie about how horrible VR is going to be; here's the trailer for the crowdfunding campaign.

ENERGEIA FILMS is proud to be a part of the launch campaign for NOIR Systems's latest entry in the field of VR-enhanced rehabilitation -- the NSYS-EX. As seen in the new short film, HARSH REALITY!

What happens when the technology designed to help us is turned against us? Please help fund HARSH REALITY so you can find out!

VR dystopias are usually posed as an assault on our senses, on our privacy, our sense of self. But honoring the utopian viewpoint--VR as a manifestation of everything we want to see and become, an unfettered self--always held more power for me, especially as prelude to dystopia. The 1988(!) Red Dwarf episode Better Than Life, wherein fully-immersive VR is revealed as a way to completely idealize one's everyday personal flaws, remains my favorite! Read the rest

Scary 360-degree video of a house fire

The New Zealand Fire Service put together a terrifying interactive website showing how quickly a house fire spreads. They hung some clothes too close to a heater, and within a minute, the entire room was an inferno. Scroll up the ceiling for a sense of how intense it gets. Read the rest

OMG, someone stuck a 360° camera in a bunny pen

Get a rabbit's-eye view of bun-bun num-nums as these impossibly cute baby rabbits go to town on apples and other treats. Scroll around to feel surrounded by bunnies, or petter yet, but on your compatible VR and become a bunny. Read the rest

Watch how NASA trains astronauts with VR

NASA has always been an early adopter of technology like virtual and augmented reality for training. Here's a cool glimpse into how they train future ISS and landing party astronauts. Read the rest

Games and other online communities are societies, owed a duty of care by their owners

Raph Koster is one of the world's most celebrated game designers, responsible for the design of Ultima Online, CCO of Sony during the Star Wars Galaxies era, and author of the classic Theory of Fun. Ever year, Raph gives a barn-raising/barn-burning speech at the Game Developer's Conference, one of the don't-miss moments of the conference. This year's speech is no exception. Read the rest

Woman turned her prenatal ultrasounds into a VR experience

Samuli Cantell had the interesting idea of importing her ultrasound data into a 3D modeling program to create a VR experience: Read the rest

Blortasia: an abstract art world in the sky

My friend Kevin Mack (who did the Special Effects for Fight Club and many other movies) created a VR art experience called Blortasia for the HTC Vive. Here's a preview.

​Fly freely through a surreal maze of evolving sculptures. Take a break from reality and explore an animated psychedelic sculpture park. Wander through the labyrinth, soar across the open space, or just hang out and let the mesmerizing ever-changing sculptures provide a rejuvenating refuge for your mind. Blortasia combines art and flying in virtual reality.

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This illustration demonstrates VR's "infinite canvas" possibilities

Worlds in Worlds is a beautiful proof of concept by Goro Fujita, who wanted to test just how deep the VR illustration tool Quill by Story Studio could go into an animation. Marvel at how well it works as advertised. Read the rest

Google Earth now available in VR

A virtual reality version of Google Earth is now available on Steam for the HTC Vive. Viewers can walk around, or fly, or browse any number of recorded locations. Read the rest

Preserving endangered dark rides with VR

Crystal writes, "'Dark rides' like the Spookarama at Deno's Wonder Wheel Park, those single-cart rides that take you through a haunted house full of ghosts and scares. They're prime for teenage making out, have been around for 100 years -- and they're disappearing. Joel Zika, a 36-year-old art and design university professor in Melbourne, Australia, has been fascinated with the dark rides for years, reveling their connection to early horror effects in movies. So he decided to document them in the only way that would truly do them justice: virtual reality." Read the rest

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