First Click: My body is ready to jack in to the Rift

June 15th, 2015


My first game console was Pong. It was also my last. But I’m pretty sure the Oculus Rift will mark my return to gaming.

My exile wasn’t entirely of my own design. While friends would eventually own Atari and Sega and Nintendo systems, my parents made the brash decision to forbid gaming in favor of doing stuff, any stuff as long as it was outside and away from the TV. As an adult I’ve met each new generation of game consoles with the same wistful declaration: this is the year I return to gaming. Then I read reviews that downgrade the features I’d been excited by to mere gimmicks, until finally I just throw up my hands and say, ok, let's see what comes next.

What’s next is virtual reality. VR draws a bold line between what we’ve known as gaming and what’s yet to come. In that respect the Rift is perfectly named:

Rift | noun | A crack, split, or break in something.

Even the Oculus logo is brilliant, resembling both an eye of cybernetic design and a port for jacking your brain into another world.

Maybe I’m wrong about Oculus. Maybe the headset I buy will be from Sony, Valve/HTC, Microsoft, or Razer. We’ll certainly learn more at E3 this week and the nine months or so before the Rift and peripherals are released. But I’m not wrong about the promise of VR.

I was lucky enough to be in the room when Oculus had its big coming out party three years ago. I’ve since tried Rift in all its physical incarnations for gaming, art, and immersive story telling. It’s not just next generation gaming — it’s next gen entertainment.

My parents are gone but I can still hear their cautionary tones. Still, I think they’d be fine knowing that I was about to go outside and experience the future, even if I’m just sitting in front of the TV.

Five stories to start your day

  1. Fallout 4 is coming out this year — here's what you need to know

    It seems like only yesterday we got our first confirmation that Fallout 4 existed (seven years of unofficial anticipation notwithstanding). And now on the eve of E3 2015, Bethesda is giving us a real look at the game. More importantly, a release date: November 10th, 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

  2. Fallout 4 comes with a real Pip-Boy that works with your phone

    The collector's edition of the game will include an actual Pip-Boy wearable sleeve that you can slot your phone into, meaning you'll be able to access all of the features just by glancing down at your IRL arm. "As far as stupid gimmicks go, I chose the best fucking one," said Bethesda's Todd Howard on stage at E3.

  3. Doom features absurd gore, multiplayer, and modding tools meant for every player

    At the end of the demo, the hero cuts through the humanoid demons with a chainsaw in a variety of angles to show that for him, dismemberment isn't a job — it's a craft. The new Doom runs on the id Tech 6 game engine, and it's the first game to do so. The engine and the game look noticeably better than id Tech 5 games, like Rage and the most recent reboot of Wolfenstein.

  4. Jurassic World earns over half a billion worldwide in biggest opening weekend ever

    Jurassic World has turned into quite the blockbuster hit. The film has crushed industry estimates, and has raked in a record $511.8 million globally, making it the first to ever break half a billion dollars over its opening weekend. That number comes from $204.6 million domestically, just shy of The Avengers' record $207.4 million weekend haul in 2012.

  5. You'll either want to squeeze or eat these squishy 'Jelly Gummies' GIFs

    Look at these jiggly GIFs! They're the work of Sam Lyon, the guy behind the deliriously strange Tumblr Jelly Gummies. Lyon makes gelatinous dancing dolphins, sticky bubblegum faces, wobbling starfish, and alien babies with slimy Jello tongues — plus a bunch of weird unnamable stuff.

Rift of the day