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  • Fumbling Towards Victory: Virtual Reality's Long and Winding Journey

     

    Image courtesy of Wikipedia Image courtesy of Wikipedia

    The story of VR has been a roller coaster ride. Time and again, it was launched for mainstream consumption amid much frenzy - only for it to fall flat on its virtual face. It got to the point that the term virtual reality became a mere buzz word. Sure, it had its moments, but VR just never seemed to live up to the grand possibilities.

    Here, we examine VR’s journey and how it is finally the success it is today despite all the failures of decades past.

    The Ghosts of Virtual Past: Struggling with Missteps, Price Tags, and Nausea

    The Sensorama. Power Glove. Nintendo (with their Virtual Boy). Virtuality. These are but some (but by no means the only ones) who rode the VR hysteria only to end up… meh. They all seemed nice. Why did they fail then?

    Consider the technological limitations of years gone by and compare that to what we have now. You can talk about potential all you want, but if you don’t have the hardware to back it up, it simply won’t fly. It might be a cop-out and simplistic to pin VR’s past failures on crappy hardware but we’ll do just that.  The technology was downright mediocre.

    Another point we need to consider is the lofty price tag. Was it really worth paying the price if, after mere minutes of usage it made you feel… we’ll get to that on our last point.

    The last point is the nagging issue of nausea. Just one look at all those grainy graphics and you’ll see what we mean. Time and again, the one constant complaint about VR was that it left users feeling sick—and that, perhaps, was what doomed incarnation after incarnation of VR.

    The Saints of Virtual Future: A Matter of Time, Hardware, and Nostalgia

    VR’s nice but how will it succeed this time around?

    For one, we now have the hardware to support a more realistic type of virtuality. Just think about the rate at which technology upgrades. Today, you can buy a mega computer or smartphone. By next week, it’s practically made obsolete by the release of a more sophisticated, slicked-up gadget. The difference with VR is that we are standing at the threshold of all its possibilities with all the available (and affordable!) hardware today. It would be silly not to take advantage of all the potential that VR has.

    Sometimes, it’s also a matter of timing. Perhaps VR just kept getting pushed towards the masses too soon. We’ve discussed in a previous blog post (*feel free to browse through our archive) how pop culture referenced the way VR would shape today’s world. The world wasn’t ready then, but it is now.

    Good things come to those who wait, but it’s also good to take advantage of technological leaps and bounds. VR is no longer just for the youth whose gadgets are practically part of their daily lives. Folks from the 90’s who were let down by the ghosts of virtual past are now finding redemption and utmost satisfaction courtesy of the saints of virtual future.

    So stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Or rather, don’t stop us because we’re telling you right now: Virtual Reality will succeed—and is already succeeding—this time around.
    Love it or not, you can’t deny its formidable presence (*refer to our last 2 blog posts) in today’s world. And with just the right software applications, even the most skeptical of people won’t be able to deny just how far VR has come since its inception all those decades ago.

  • Virtual Becomes Reality: Pop Culture References that Predicted How Virtual Reality Can Affect Lives

    From movies to music videos, the world of pop culture has always dabbled with the ever-fascinating possibilities brought forth by the technology of Virtual Reality. It is, after all, in human nature to want what’s beyond our reach and that—to an extent—is what VR does.

    As such, we’ve gathered some instances in pop culture as seen on film, TV, and heard through music that showed how virtual reality can affect lives.

    Tron & Tron Legacy

    There’s no denying that the entire gaming experience can be amped ten-fold if done in the 3D setting. Of course, there’s no sign that we’ll be able to literally jump into cyberspace in the near future, it still gives us a glimpse into what VR can do—and is already doing—to the world of gaming.

    The Lawnmower Man

    This Stephen King classic delved at the possible negative side effects of VR. As with everything else, there is a thin line that can easily be crossed. It’s really up to people to make use of technology for just the right reasons.

    Demolition Man

    VR makes fantasies as true as can be. And where else do fantasies run the most amuck than in the bedroom? Demolition Man predicted a not-so-intimate take on the most intimate of moments.

    Music Video for “Amazing” by Aerosmith

    Scene from Aerosmith's "Amazing" music video Scene from Aerosmith's "Amazing" music video

    Two decades ago, Alicia Silverstone was every red-blooded teenage boy’s fantasy. The music video for “Amazing” brought one on-screen boy’s fantasies to life via his Virtual Headset. Only it turns out, he was living in her virtual reality instead.

    Music Video for “I Got You Babe” by Cher featuring Beavis and Butthead

    Virtual dating is a decades-old concept. Generation X’s favorite hilarious dimwits got to go on a dream date with Cher back in the nineties.

    “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai

    There’s no doubt that VR offers a lot of good possibilities. But with vicarious existence being so enticing, it’s not far-fetched to assume that it can get twisted or that some folks just might end up spending too much time in the virtual world and not nearly enough in the real one.

    With the availability of just the right apps, any experience can be yours virtually. And as cliché as it may seem, the future really is now. Yet at the same time, something tells us that we have barely begun to scratch the surface of what virtual reality can bring.

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