Being constantly on the floor at VRPlayin, giving people tours of our space, explaining to them what we do and what virtual reality is, one thing I keep hearing is “I don’t play video games” or “I’m not a gamer”.
I’m begging you: please stop.
Gaming doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Not only can gaming be fun, much like kids, we’re not too old to still learn through playing and new experiences — experiences not unlike those enjoyed by first time users of virtual reality.
One of the first things those new users feel when strapping on a headset for the first time is awe. The Institute for Noetic Sciences, co-founded by former astronaut Edgar Mitchell, aims to give everyone this sensation through the use of virtual reality. From flying on a plane for the first time, to scuba diving in a coral reef, there are things we may not have done that virtual reality can still allow you to experience.
When talking about virtual reality, for gamers and non-gamers alike, content is key. At VRPlayin we strive to have something for everyone and to ensure the best possible experiences are available to our customers. And yes, games are content, but so too are our other titles. Whether they’re built to give virtual tours of real museums or to allow you to explore the surface of Mars, VR isn’t entirely dedicated for gamers, just as games aren’t solely for those with gaming experience.
As a new medium, not only can VR educate, but it can empower education. Being at the forefront of innovation, virtual reality is a tool that is going to be front and center of many emerging technologies and is therefore something we must learn to use. In much the same way our lives were impacted by the rise of the internet, so too will VR be involved in the shape of our future media consumption and to get accustomed to it now can only help you as the world continues to evolve.
But maybe you’re still not sure about VR. If that’s the case, and you need more proof, then let me tell you about mini golf. You’re probably at least somewhat aware of mini golf, even if you haven’t played it. Imagine then that you’re on a mini golf course. Now imagine the rules of physics are no longer being applied, you’re floating on an island in the sky and each hole is filled with twisted challenges you’d never see on Earth.
It may sound crazy, but one of the first birthday parties VRPlayin hosted was for a 90 year old gentleman and his great-grandson, who was 2 years old. While the toddler didn’t use the equipment, the older man certainly did, enjoying “golfing” with people, most of whom were half his age.
He, despite his decades of experience, still felt through VR what astronauts call The Overview Effect, the kind of mental shift that occurs from something like seeing the Earth from space, something that has been reported to change people’s attitudes and views about the meaning and fragility of life. And while for some it may have only been mini golf, for a man in his tenth decade he experienced something so profound it’s hard to call it just a game. It is an activity, an experience everyone of all ages can enjoy, learn from and feel inspired after.
If this has sparked your interest, check out this weeks previous post here. Our CEO tackles the history of virtual reality until present day, in the first article in a series of 3 exploring the virtual reality timeline.