With the impending arrival of Oculus Rifts, HTC Vives and PlayStation VRs in many a gaming geek’s home, there’s going to be countless examples of embarrassing VR-related stories filling bars, Reddit threads and newspaper inches in the coming months.
The Wii went through a similar trend, with column inches dedicated to stories of broken TVs, windows and children as people simply didn’t know how to keep hold of a remote during frantic games of tennis.
Having now spent many hours in the virtual world, and also being personally prone to the awkward moment or two, I’ve put together a list of all the terrible things you’re likely to do in VR so you can at least prepare yourself for the shame when they do happen.
Video: What is VR?
1) Get very sick
You’re probably very excited to try VR for the very first time. I’m excited for you. But one thing you can’t prepare for, and something which will take a solid amount of time to get used to, is the immense motion sickness.
If you’re a massive gaming nerd, like myself, you’ll probably persevere through the ever-encroaching sensation of needing to bring up your lunch. You’ll stick around in order to have one more flight through Eve: Valkyrie’s incredible galaxies or try and bring Ad1ft’s space station into some working order, but eventually you’ll feel it, that one dizzy spell too far, and you’re stomach will call time on your evening.
Just keep a bucket near you to avoid a long and smelly clean-up operation.
2) Headbutt something
Once you’re in VR, the outside world is dead to you. You’re in, and it’ll take a lot for you to get out again. The problem is, your spatial awareness is tied to everything you’re seeing, and therefore leaning forward or dropping down for a potshot in Hover Junkers feels perfectly natural as you have all the space of the desert.
Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive
However, Hover Junkers doesn’t account for your bedroom cabinet or, you know, your walls. Your headset will warn you when you’re getting a little too close for comfort, but that hasn’t stopped me cracking my cranium a time or two when curiosity got the better of me. I blame Henry.
The first time you’re stood at a precipice, fall from a great height, have something hit you or play a horror game in VR, you’ll scream. Not a courageous, defiant scream of a hero, the scream that an infant makes when they’re scared of the man in the Batman costume.
Just hope you’re alone when you make the noise, and you don’t wake anybody with that childish shrill, as there’s no easy way to say “a dinosaur walked past me and then I was stood at the edge of a cliff, and it all happened IN MY FACE.”
Let’s just hope you handle that first belly-doing-flips moment better than this guy:
4) Fumble around looking for your controller
Much to the point above, again you’re blind to the outside world once you’re in virtual reality. That’s why it’s important to have all the required equipment you need to play all the amazing games BEFORE you bung on the headset, otherwise you’ll spend your first few minutes in VR feeling around your bedroom floor looking for the Xbox pad like Velma looking for her glasses.
Of course you could always take the headset off, grab the pad and stick the goggles back on, but we both know that’s too much effort, so you won’t. It’s much more fun to play ‘slap the floor until I hit something plastic’.
Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive
5) Annoy all your friends and family
Virtual Reality is a brand new experience. It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. It’s so cool and indescribable that not only will it be all you talk about with everyone you know, but you’ll also repeatedly insist that they try it for themselves.
Your persistence will annoy them. At first they’ll politely decline, gaming isn’t really their thing. Your mum is put off by the mere mention of motion sickness, plus she’s perfectly happy in her own Kitchen.
You’ll insist they all try it, some will, simply to placate you. Most will refuse, eventually ignoring your calls. Eventually you’ll have nobody to talk to about VR, left only with the virtual world for company….but don’t worry, you’ll be fine.
6) Make very stupid faces
Seen those trailers for PSVR of people in the headset? They look cool, right? Pulling all sorts of surprised and inspired expressions of how amazed they are at the world of virtual reality.
Want to know how that translates to regular, unpaid folk like you and I? You end up looking like you’re trying to solve 37.5 times 678.375 in your head while also wondering if you left the oven on.
That gormless look on your face is clear for all to see, punctuated by brief “ooo’s” and “ahhh’s” to let people know you’re actually having a good time, and are not in fact suffering with terrible constipation.
7) Get hair everywhere
Anyone with a do that isn’t a buzzcut will realise the first time you stick the headset on that a bit of pampering is required before pulling the helmet down on your bonce. The first time I tried on the Rift I thought I was in a thick forest, but then realised it was just that my hair had been pulled down over my eyes.
Remembering to tie your hair back or at least give it a cool brush back before diving into Eve or Lucky’s Tale will become common practice before long.
Related: Which VR headset is the best?
8) Get caught ‘testing’ VR Porn
We all know that virtual reality porn is a thing. It’s a bizarre thing, but a thing nonetheless. The trouble is, the concept is so bizarre that you’ll simply HAVE to try it out.
You know you will, but what you’re about to find out is the second you start watching, you’re going to get caught.
Even if you live alone, somehow you’re going to get caught in the act. A cat or something will watch you, and judge as you sit in that seedy virtual world, you naughty thing.
9) Tread on the cable, yanking the headset off
Where the HTC Vive excels over the Rift is in its ability to have you move around in its virtual worlds. Thanks to monitors which you can set up in your room, and also two handheld wands, movement in VR is more tangible and makes experience feel that much more real.
Never mind that you need more space than any flat in London offers to have a Vive, the experience means you’ll probably forego any seating or communal areas in order to have VR. However, the downside is that the cable connecting the headset to your PC is likely to get trodden on, and your headset will very quickly become a floor-set.
10) Forget something important
That important meeting, the kettle, newborn baby in the bath? Yup, not important, you’re a space marine on Mars now.
That Amazon delivery guy at the door will simply have to come back another day, you’re too busy taking down the bad guys and looking super cool while doing it...with a giant black box attached to your face, stood alone, in your living room, in your pants...
Will you be buying a VR headset this year? Let us know in the comments below.