For a team building activity, this afternoon we went to Zero Latency, a VR play area in the mall adjacent to our offices. There we were decked out in backpacks containing computers, and put on goggles and headphones, before going for a walk inside a darkened room.
For fifteen minutes, we walked around a platform game, which started off with walking from platform to platform (a little odd) and very quickly got very challenging once you had to walk along a bridge that was a mobius strip, or down a very steep slope. I knew that I was just walking on a flat surface, but the illusion just from the change in visual input is incredibly immerse, even without being very high resolution.
It felt a bit dizzying at times, and after that, we had fifteen minutes of shooting zombies. This was a lot more fun, and strangely didn’t produce any nausea or feelings of disorientation in the way the mellower game did. The time passed in moments – it certainly didn’t feel like we’d been in another reality for only half an hour.
Afterwards, we drank gin and chatted about things – it’s the gaps in between that really help you to get on with people (which is why mandatory fun isn’t so great by itself, but if you get people together then that’s a platform for other things).
And then home, back to a different reality, where my sensory deprivation wasn’t via high tech goggles, but by lying in a darkened room with my two daughters draped over me as I tried to persuade them to sleep.