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Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Guns and rollercoasters, what could go wrong?

rollerforce-screenshot-1
Guns and rollercoasters, what could go wrong?

I have fond memories of going to the movies with my family growing up, where I always had Cookie Dough Bites and a soda larger than my head in grasp. Before the start of a film there was always a constant, familiar site: the Regal Cinemas Policy Trailer. The pre-preview trailer is a dizzying whirlwind of a faux-rollercoaster ride, as the cart zooms past giant popcorn and other movie theater snacks. It’s gimmicky and dumb. The CGI is bad too. And yet, just seeing an image from it is enough to bait me into humming its insanely catchy tune. There’s a new VR game that elicits these particular memories, and it’s called Rollerforce.

Rollerforce, created by Headtrip Games (creators of the exploratory space experience iOMoon), is an on-rails shooter. On-rails both in the genre-sense, and meaning that it’s literally on a rollercoaster. Yet, Headtrip Games doesn’t want this to just be another lackadaisical rollercoaster experience, nor a generic on-rails shooter. In combining the two seamlessly for VR, the player is strapped in for a high-intensity arcade-like ride. Guns a-blazing, rails screeching.

Guns a-blazing, rails screeching

The game’s combat is not as simple as pointing at an enemy and firing. With the game’s physics-based play, every shot can ricochet around the map, flying around other parts of the level and pegging other enemies as well. Audio also plays a large part, as enemies and objects in the game pulsate to various music and sounds. Kind of like the rhythmic approach to Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s on-rails shooter Rez (2001), but far different in their aesthetics.

That lava looks hot.
That lava looks hot.

Rollerforce captures that heightened experience from those silly Regal Cinemas warnings I once enjoyed, and amplifies it to an interactive extent. Resting somewhere between shooters and coaster simulators, Rollerforce will be an interesting experiment to play once it’s completed. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get anyone sick, because it sure does look nausea-inducing.

Rollerforce doesn’t have a release date or even a trailer yet, but it’s currently in development for the HTC Vive and later, the Oculus Rift with Touch.

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