Everyone keeps saying it, but it doesn’t make it any less true—the age of virtual reality is finally upon us. We’re still standing on the doorstep peeking in through the front door, but this metaphorical VR mansion is going to prove to be huge once we strut on in and start moving in the furniture.
One obvious application of VR technology is to virtually recreate real-world locations, so that those who don’t have the ability, time, or resources to physically visit a far-away destination can do so from their couch. So here we are with one of the first examples of such a “game”, and the response has been positive. I’m talking about The Grand Canyon VR Experience.
I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, personally, and there’s something appealing about the idea of experiencing it without the heat, risk of falling off a cliff to my doom, or having to share space with ugly tourists. Of course as beautiful as this virtual rendition of the great gorge may be, virtual reality simply can’t replace the real thing. But it’s getting there! One might even be able to consider virtual world tours like this as “tryouts”, and then could choose their favorite to go visit for real come holiday time.
The majority of the experience is taken from the inside of a kayak drifting through the canyon. The kayak rocks with your movements and the environment is faithfully recreated from the actual canyon itself. But the place isn’t just dead rock and lily pads—randomly-generated wildlife with AI roam the cliffs for your viewing pleasure. And the developers have listed the game as an Early Access title, and claim “Many more mechanics in the works”.
You can get Grand Canyon Virtual Reality Experience now on Steam, but keep in mind that you have to own an Oculus Rift headset (DK2 or CV1) & runtime 0.7.