I think it’s pretty well know at this point that VR can but used for a lot of things, and one of those things is relaxation. Sometimes we want to smash robot heads together, or explore creepy horror games in VR, but sometimes we just want to chill and find out inner self. I think it’s a pretty neat idea and I got to explore it myself with a game, or experience called Sound Self this year at E3. Now I’m normally not someone that would go out of their way to play something like this, mainly because I don’t have VR, but also because I don’t know what relaxing is.
Well, I sat down with Robin Arnott this and had some tea with some really cool people and then they strapped me in for an interesting experience. Not only do you have the headset, you’ve gotta have a pretty decent pair of noise-cancelling headphones to get the full experience. You also need to have a decent microphone for you to make noises into, and they had an acoustic bed for me to lay on. It was really just a bed with a subwoofer in it, but it was pretty cool regardless. When you start your session, you’re at a tree on the ground, looking up through spiraling branches that lead to the stars. The way you interact with the game is by taking deep breaths and making long, constant noises into the microphone. You can making humming noises, buzzing noises, hell, you can scream if you really want to scare the shit out of everyone around you.
I didn’t do that, but I really thought about it, just to see what would happen.
In all seriousness, what happens is really cool, it plays back whatever noise you’re making into the mic through your headphones, just severely shifted, it sounds more like monks chanting. The bed also vibrates with the subwoofer in it and it makes you feel like you’re being lifted upwards (which is what is happening in the game). Once you clear the trees, you’re basically thrust through a bunch of psychedelic images that react to the sound you make. Depending on the pitch and how loud you are, the colors will change and the vibrations will intensify. It’s pretty mesmerizing, although for the first five minutes I really had to hold my lunch down because it was unlike anything I had experience before. I think that this is a great project, and I hope it really goes somewhere, if this can be used to relax people who have anxiety or other mental illnesses, I think that’d be great. I’m no doctor so I don’t know how that works exactly, but I can see this doing some really amazing things for the right people. Check out some images of what you’ll see in the headset below, and let us know what you think!
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