Society isn’t ready to take a medium seriously until it can provide certain things. The first, and most obvious, achievement is it must work with porn. Virtual reality passed that benchmark a long time ago, and it seems to have no problem revisiting it over and over again. So what’s the next trial that virtual reality must face on its quest to becoming a true consumer medium?
Someone has to try and make me exercise with it.
That someone are the makers of the Virzoom, an exercise bike and app suite for the Oculus Rift headset. The VirZOOM is available for preorder today, with the first 300 units are $200 (it’s regular price $250).
I’ve had multiple sessions on the Virzoom bike, and they’ve all been interesting so far. One game involves rustling up bandits with a lasso while riding a horse. The quicker I peddle the bike, the faster my horse gallops. Aiming the lasso requires staring at the bandit I want to take down, and timing firing off my rope based off of a colored gauge (fire when the meter touches the green space, and the rope will successfully grab the target).
Another games features riding a pegasus through a valley of trees, which contain fruit that my beast needs to eat in order to keep flying. Peddling quicker has the winged horse gain speed and altitude. Leaning left or right alters the animal’s direction.
The last one is a racing car game with a similar control scheme. Peddling quicker gives the car more gas, while turning requires leaning left and right.
In the case of the pegasus and race car apps, the combination of the in-game visuals and the amount of leaning required occasionally made me feel like I was going to fall off of the bike. But the rep assured me, multiple times, that it was impossible to do so.
The bike itself is small and compact, and it folds up, so you can shove it in a corner or closet Yet it can support the weight and size of my large frame. Its easily accessible thumb controls sit on both sides of the handle bar, as well as a vitals monitor. Although none of the games I tried out seemed to take advantage of the thumb controls.
All of these games have multiplayer, as long as I am signed up with a Virzoom Plus membership for $10 a month. This membership will also have better health-tracking options, with more games in the future.
The question lingering in my mind, though, is if anyone would want to go through the hassle of putting a virtual reality headset on just to do some quick daily cardio? And if the answer is yes, are we really so gawd-damned bored with the thought of doing something active that we need to escape reality to do it?
I’m not the healthiest person in the world, but when I exercise, I make sure it is something I enjoy. If riding a winged horse in virtual reality is enough of a motivator to get you to do an hour of cardio a day, then hell, maybe this is the solution for you?