My virtual-reality headset: ‘VR has the potential to educate and connect people’

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What does my virtual-reality headset say about me?

Stef owns a variety of virtual reality headsets and is currently developing a VR game called Pixel Ripped. “It says I’m a big gamer, but my eyes have been opened to the potential of VR for education and to connect people. Unfortunately the headsets are still pretty dorky-looking.”

And what it really says

Stef is looking about as cool as you can with a Virtual Reality headset on, which is not very cool at all. VR headsets look like someone has stuck a sandwich toaster on a pair of welding goggles: there aren’t too many ways of styling these out. Still, I can’t imagine Stef is bothered. Virtual Reality people don’t care about Actual Reality people, because they can’t see us. They’re in another world, and it’s a lot more absorbing than us sneerers, pulling faces at them on the bus.

To me, VR is like a very fast hallucinogen. Bang the headset on and zoom goes your head, straight into something far more interesting than everyday existence. You’re a superhero jumping off a burning bridge, a daredevil agent doing parkour, a small woodland creature ferreting for nuts (or is that last one just magic mushrooms?). Plus, VR is expensive and often makes me feel sick. It’s legal, though, which is nice.

Unlike most of us, queuing up to try VR on a digital fun day with the kids, Stef has a proper reason for wearing her mad goggles: she designs games for a living, and many games will soon be VR. Then parents will find their teenagers really can’t see or hear them, rather than just pretending they can’t.

Perhaps Stef could take a break from designing games and design a headset that isn’t so clonky. One that has fake eyes on the front, maybe? Or a slogan: “My Other World’s a Porsche (and I’m Driving at 150mph Straight into a Brick Wall).” I’m not sure she’s going to want to, though. For gamers, gaming is often better than real life. Fair enough. We all need an escape.

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