Stories are as native to humans as nasal passages. It’s how we pass the time. It’s how we pass information from one person, family, and generation to the next. Back in the day, stories were proliferated via word of mouth. Which is why the creation of the printing press sent the world in a tizzy. (People have since realized that books are like naps: essential and more fun when you’re older.) Technology has continued to develop at a wicked speed, and humans use it to tell stories. Virtual reality is only one of the newest ways to tell stories.
As eloquently put by Joe Sabia, “The way that humans tell stories has always evolved with pure, consistent novelty.”
Today, stories are all around us. Comic books, movies, TV shows, YouTube clips, Facebook statuses, and Twitter threads all keep us entertained. Stories acquaint us with our world and introduce us to new things at the same time. This is why we keep coming back. And virtual reality is one of a long line of storytelling innovations.
But unlike books and movies, virtual reality is not passive. By that we mean that in books and stories, there is a fourth wall. There are actors and there are audience members—rarely shall the two overlap. With virtual reality, however, the audience is a character.
Virtual Reality: Choose Your Own Adventure
According to director Angel Manuel Soto, “In VR, the sense of presence allows you to forget where you are for a little bit.” Indeed, you forget where you are outside of the story. Virtual reality provides a 360º view of your surroundings, enabling a really immersive experience. The user is free to walk around and explore the territory of the world she is in.
For this reason, creators of these virtual worlds can’t over-determine what the user will do. It’s not like a movie where directors can unequivocally decide where the audience will look and how they interacts with the scene. It’s more like choose-your-own-adventure. However, the creator can make strong suggestions for where you should go next using light, sounds, and the other characters in the story.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
Virtual Reality in Video Games
Gamers may be like, pssh, this ain’t nothin’ new. And though arrogant, they would be right. Virtual reality has long infiltrated the world of gaming. It allows for a more immersive experience for gamers. First person games already got the ball rolling in making the audience the camera. By that we mean that the world unfolds as the user looks at it. Virtual reality games take that one step further by completely immersing the user into the world of the game.
Instead of looking at the game through a screen, now there are video game headsets that block out most of the senses of the outside world and replace them with those of a virtual world. The world becomes bigger than a screen. The story unfolds while you create and participate in it.
Virtual Reality Apps-n-Such
Aside from video games, there are virtual reality apps that will give you the same experience without the violence of some video games. Some apps include VRSE, Jaunt Player, And VR One Cinema. The Discovery Channel has created its own virtual reality app to combine user experience with their content.
There are also movie-game combos that provide that storytelling jush. One example that comes to mind is Dinner Party. This project combines cinematography with virtual reality to recount the story of one couple’s alien abduction. (It’s as cool as/way cooler than it sounds.) This project combines several technologies and technology professionals to tell this story and design the user’s experience.
Some of you may say, this sounds like the beginning of a Black Mirror episode. And it might be. After all, art imitates life and life imitates art. But I don’t think it will have the sordid ending of one of the Netflix series’ episodes. Fret not.
Take the Leap With GDEV
Virtual reality is truly advanced technology, but this is just the beginning of what it can do. It tells stories that contribute to our experiences as humans. If you are interested in the ways you can use tech to tell a story, contact us at GDEV. We have the tools to propel you into the future. Email firstname.lastname@example.org!