One of my most vivid childhood memories occurred on a trip to Thorpe Park, when I was probably about seven or eight years old. I do not remember the rides; I don’t and never have particularly enjoyed rollercoasters. What I remember is that we went into the little arcade, and I had a go on a game called The Red Baron. This game involved putting on a headset (a proper one, you know the sort that covered your entire head), and piloting a German with an extremely large head in a Fokker Tri-plane. I was terrible at it, and was killed almost immediately. The reason I remember my inadequate attempt at arcade gaming is very simple; it was the headset. To my seven year old mind it was the future; I was part of the game. I was IN the game. And it was amazing.
‘What’s your point?’ I can hear you weeping. Well, this was the first time I had played a game which involved putting on a headset, and that to me felt hugely futuristic and exciting. And that, finally, brings me on to Oculus Rift. Aside from having the world’s coolest name, Oculus Rift reminds me very much of that exciting experience, and is the piece of kit that I want to succeed almost more than anything else that’s coming in the gaming universe right now. So I’ve been thinking; when I unbox my brand new shiny Oculus Rift headset, what games would I like to be playing on it? Reddit suggested a Doctor Who game with the Weeping Angels and whilst that is clearly the correct answer, it would be cheating if I just claimed credit for it so here’s my suggestions.
1 – Outlast
If, like me, you are a fan of our own Joseph Butler-Hartley’s Horror Show series, then you will also be waiting patiently for him to get hold of a copy of Outlast. What appears to be the most terrifying horror game I have ever seen; Outlast stars you, an undercover reporter who has been tipped off about practices at a mental institute. Unlike any rationally thinking person, when you arrive to find it boarded up and apparently abandoned you break in, and predictably find yourself being stalked by the most unspeakable horrors imaginable armed only with the night vision mode on your video camera. Not only would this be awesome with Oculus Rift, they could branch out into other merchandise as well; I have never come quite as close to moving to code brown as I have with this game, so I would think starting a line in Oculus Rift branded adult nappies to go with every purchase would be pretty on the money. See also – The Slenderman games or Alan Wake.
2 – Better Than Life
Are you fat? Do you have to wipe down your monitor after spending an evening with your girlfriend? Have you got no friends? If this describes you, would you like to create your own character, body and life the way YOU want it, not the way your life of fatty foods and uncomfortable silences around girls has left you with? Yeah you do. Hell I want that and I’ve got a wife and kids. Red Dwarf were a little bit ahead of us with their technology; I don’t believe there are any plans to bring out a groin attachment peripheral to go alongside the headset, but the temptation to live life the way you want it certainly has its appeal.
3 – Jason And The Argonauts
For those with only a limited grasp of Greek Mythology (understandable) and the work of the late great Ray Harryhausen (unforgiveable), I will refer you to the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts for an example of a game that is crying out to be made. Leading a crew comprised of some of history’s greatest champions, Jason set off on a quest for the Golden Fleece. Along the way he battles Talos; a towering bronze statue of a warrior that stalks an island that you land on, winged Harpies, the Hydra and ultimately scary skeleton soldiers much like those you would find in the Painkiller games. See also – Clash of the Titans, or Theseus and the Minotaur. Actually that last one really would be awesome.
4 – Rock Band
I don’t like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, DJ Hero, or anything like that. Not my cup of tea I’m afraid, I’m a bit too insular and reclusive to pretend to be a rock god with a piddly little plastic guitar, especially when I know that I don’t look like a rock god when I’m holding a real guitar. I do however, understand that those who do like these types of games play them with stars in their eyes, and what better way of giving some depth to the experience by popping on your Oculus Rift headset and finding yourself on stage at Wembley with Queen, Following Iron Maiden out in Rio, Hendrix at Woodstock, Muse at Glastonbury or The Beatles at Shea Stadium. Or The Spice Girls in Budapest. If that’s your thing. You freak.
5 – Minecraft
Do I need to write an explanation here? REALLY???