HBO’s Silicon Valley is a show that’s largely about how hot tech trends are either dumb or actively harmful. And its last season included a prominent subplot about Keenan Feldspar, a Palmer Luckey stand-in whose much-hyped virtual reality technology literally blows up in its users’ faces. The technology is barely functional, but it entrances users so much that it gets a massive buyout from Silicon Valley megacorp Hooli. “I spent $2 billion on a piece-of-shit VR gadget that’s never gonna work,” complains Hooli’s CEO.
As of Sunday, Silicon Valley will also have its own virtual reality experience, available through HTC’s Viveport service. It’s titled Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel, and it’s an elaborate-looking re-creation of the eponymous house. According to the announcement, it was built from a detailed set of blueprints and photos. And although I haven’t tried the experience, the trailer and a VRScout preview suggest it’s... played pretty straight. It’s a reference-filled environment that includes (prerecorded) live-action video chats with several characters from the show, and has a few small missions for players.
The announcement pokes a little fun at VR hype; like every tech product in the show, the experience is going to “make the world a better place,” and there’s a brief reference to Hooli VR. But the promotions aren’t really about the hype, the way a game like Virtual Virtual Reality is. The trailer pretty much shows VR working as intended: letting people hang out in places that would normally be accessible and then completely trashing them.