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10 Reasons Why I Plan to Buy a VR Headset Next Gen

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By Nelson Schneider - 10/25/20 at 05:12 PM CT

The 8th Generation is coming to its inevitable close, and that means it’s time to start thinking about new system purchases. While I have little-to-no interest in either the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox SeX, thanks in large part to rumors of useful functionality turning out to be false, sometime next year, after COVID-19 is under control and the hardware has finished dribbling into the market, I’ll be gutting my old, reliable Steambox I built in 2012 and filling it with shiny, new parts, most likely including an AMD Zen3 CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3060ti GPU, and 32GB of DDR4 RAM.

However, those thoughts are still for another day, as the old workhorse is still trucking along admirably, demonstrating a longevity that PC gamers of the ‘90s would have believed impossible. Yet the one thing that my current gaming PC can’t do and that I’m not bold/foolish enough to throw away money in attempting, is Virtual Reality. Last Winter, before the pandemic started, the MJ Crew went to a local VR café and had our first experiences with the up-and-coming technology. We walked away impressed, but between Chris’ budget and my Scrooge McDuck levels of stinginess, none of us have sprung for a VR system just yet. But once I have a new, beefy 9th Gen setup powering my standard gaming experience, I’ll have one less excuse to keep ignoring VR.

That said, the main, overarching reasons most gamers still have not jumped on the VR bandwagon are a) Price and b) Lack of killer apps. I’ve been scouring Steam and vigilantly watching for new and upcoming must-have VR experiences, and have compiled a short list of titles that have be excited for the future of gaming.

10. “Psychonauts: In the Rhombus of Ruin”
I already bought this when it was on sale… but I can’t play it outside of VR! I loved the quirky narrative and characters in Double-Fine’s original “Psychonauts,” and before the upcoming sequel was revealed, this low-key Adventure game was the only way to experience more of that.

9. “Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash”
What’s better than big anime boobs? Well, big real boobs, obviously, but the last time I shot a water gun at an attractive woman, she got really angry at me. This spin-off in the busty-kunoichi Beat ‘em Up/Fighting hybrid series features Third-Person Shooting instead, with the weapon of choice being good old H20, which is good for making voluptuous bodies glisten and for making t-shirts stick to all the right places, and… let’s leave it there. While this game can be played outside of VR, both the mechanics and the… content… seem custom made for the more… intimate experience VR provides by virtue of strapping the screen and speakers to your head.

8. “No Man’s Sky”
The MJ Crew has been hesitant to play this cooperatively, now that a cooperative mode has actually be added via one of the several major overhauls the game has undergone since its promise-crushing launch. Nick watched Chris play the vanilla version too much, and dreads the idea of wandering aimlessly and naming plants for 100 hours. However, if we all somehow managed to finagle VR setups, “No Man’s Sky” might be a great way to christen them with some unique cooperative exploration.

7. “Stormland”
This appears to be one of the most ambitious VR titles to date, and from a developer with a pedigree like Insomniac, “Stormland” should be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s currently exclusive to the Oculus VR ecosystem owned by *shudder* Facebook. But I REALLY want to play this, so I’ll probably be able to find some hackey work-around that allows it to worth with a less intrusive company’s gear.

6. “Moss”
While most impressive-looking VR games are some sort of FPS, TPS, or some non-shooting genre with a first-person perspective, “Moss” breaks VR’s first paradigmatic stereotype by virtue of being… completely different. I can’t help but get ‘Zelda’ and “Redwall” vibes from it.

5. “Sairento”
I actually got a chance to play this at the VR café for… about 15 minutes, and “Sairento” is actually quite the impressive ninja-action-in-the-vein-of-‘Shadow Warrior’ type of FPS. While far too many prototypical VR games force the player to stand in once place or ‘teleport’ to pre-determined locations to avoid vertigo, “Sairento” allows the player to hop around like a demented ninja bunny.

4. “Half-Life: Alyx”
Valve’s killer app for their Index headset is, not surprisingly, the one VR game I’m most excited to sit down with for a long session. ‘Half-Life’ and ‘Portal’ both did revolutionary, magnificent things to the FPS, and I fully expect “Alyx” to maintain that tradition.

3. Vridge with GameWarp
From here on out, we’re not going to talk about games, per se, but other software. Vridge is a cheap $15 app that allows non-VR games to be played in VR. Not only that, but it supports even the most basic forms of VR, such as strapping one’s smartphone to one’s face. It even uses a phone’s internal gyroscope to support head-tracking, which is a pretty big deal. Thanks to software like Vridge, even budget watchers like Chris have an option to get into VR without having to drop a Grand on unnecessary room-scale stuff.

2. Trinus
Trinus is another piece of software that works as an in-betweener for VR gear and games that aren’t designed for VR. One of the first pseudo-VR experiences I had back when I was trying to find a truly great PC motion controller was standing waaaaaay too close to my TV holding a Wiimote and Nunchuck that were Bluetooth’d to my PC and playing the original “Borderlands.” As close as I was to the screen, it actually felt like VR, and Trinus promises the ability to do the same thing, only with an actual headset.

1. VorpX
This is Trinus’ biggest competitor, it seems. VorpX’s “DirectVR” system is yet another possible way to experience non-VR games on VR tech. Considering that every FPS and First-Person Adventure (no, Nintendo fanboys, I’m not using your dumb terminology for the ‘Metroid Prime’ games, but instead talking about Adventure games that so happen to have a first-person perspective, like, say, “Myst”) desperately WANTS to be a VR experience, but has historically been held-back from that goal by the lack of consumer VR technology, it’s a no brainer to start shoehorning them onto VR in any way possible. Even better, using tech like Vridge, Trinus, or VorpX allows savvy customers the opportunity to avoid being double-charged by the shady game publishers who make VR versions of popular FPSes like “Borderlands 2,” “Fallout 4,” and “Skyrim” separate purchases from the non-VR versions.

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