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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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Mahjong is the latest relaxing tabletop game to come to VR

mahjong_1
Mahjong is the latest relaxing tabletop game to come to VR

As VR has been finding its footing as a new slice of technology, some developers are taking a step back from bombastic experiences. When VR was first coming around, action, intergalactic floating simulators, and putting the player into a world unlike their own was awe-inspiring, birthing leagues of believers in the technology because it did what was seemingly impossible. But sometimes I don’t want to venture out to an exciting new world. Sometime I just want to relax. Sony’s upcoming Anywhere VR is trying to further this calm idea, with its immersive phone checking in soothing spaces. And now there’s another piece of relaxing software joining the club: Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong, to be released first for Samsung Gear VR, and later the Oculus Rift and Google Daydream.

Mahjong operates exactly how you’re used to, with only a few minor changes

Coming from Germany-based Daedalic Entertainment and Crazy Bunch, Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong puts the classic Chinese game into the virtual world. The VR adaptation doesn’t boast any clever tricks or twists on the well-known game, it’s implemented in the most organic way possible—by itself. Merely floating in the ether against a number of 360-degree photorealistic backgrounds.

Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong operates exactly how you’re used to, with only a few minor changes. Like instead of being a four-player game, it’s single-player. That doesn’t really change much though, you’re just left alone in trying to remove tiles from the board instead of competing against others. To play the game, using the Samsung Gear VR’s touch capabilities, the player only has to point their finger to interact with the game field.

Just one of many templates to play from in the game.
Just one of many templates to play from in the game.

Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong is the first in a series of relaxing games, as the title suggests. Its content is low-key, with over 160 different templates for the player to choose from in their tile-deciphering needs. Plus with intuitive gameplay, just about anyone can kick back and enjoy the immersive landscapes around Mahjong. This may feel a bit unnecessary—after all, yelling at acquaintances is part of the joy of the tabletop classic—but still, it’s a welcome addition in the future of bringing tabletop games to VR. Single player or not, it’ll surely be a serene, tranquil experience.

You can purchase Relaxing VR Games: Mahjong for the Gear VR here for $2.99.

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