Before the turkey-induced coma sets in on the big day and everyone settles down for football, board games, or spirited arguments over lifestyle choices, the VR evangelist in you probably wants to show off your new headset to your extended family this year. Here’s the best VR content that should delight your sweet granny Mabel, stubborn Aunt Cathy, your annoying little cousin Skippy McDingus, and everyone in between.

When showing off to family, the key to an enjoyable time is getting them in quick and not overwhelming with complicated controls, so pretty much anything with artificial locomotion should probably be reserved for the gamers among the group. Whatever the genre, there’s a few fast and hard rules to go by too: keep it relatively short, make sure the display is mirrored on a big TV so everyone can watch, and let everyone know that they could get a controller to the jaw if they don’t respect the playspace. Also, please keep your four-legged friends and toddlers out from underfoot.

There’s a lot of cross over this time around since last year, so we’ve lumped Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PSVR into one family friendly list. You’ll find Oculus Go, Gear VR, and Google Daydream further below too:

Rift, Vive & PSVR

Job Simulator

What: It’s an oldie (relatively speaking) but a goodie for VR first-timers, and if your friends and family have never had a chance to pop into VR, Job Simulator (2016) might do well to whet some virtual appetites as you serve up char-grilled burgers to smack-talking robots, toss things around, and generally have a laugh or two.

Who: This is the poster child for ‘family friendly VR game’, so everyone, including gam gam or grandpa, can easily pop in to see what that weird face-Nintendo you brought over is all about. Hilarity ensues.

How long: 5 – 10 minutes per person

Why: Job Simulator is a great point of entry for almost anyone, as it’s easy to pick up and doesn’t focus on complicated controls. The charm of making crazy things and tossing staplers at robots can wear thin quickly though. If you only have one big chance to impress the group, you may want to skip this one and head down the list.

Store Links: Steam, Oculus Store, PlayStation Store

Beat Saber

What: Take Dance Dance Revolution and cross-breed it with Fruit Ninja, and you’ll have Beat Saber (2018). There’s a reason why Beat Saber climbed to the top of the charts when it launched into Early Access this Spring: it’s incredibly addictive, and seems to check the “wow, I’m totally in the future!” box that you definitely want to hit when showing off to VR newcomers.

Who: Everyone, even the couch potatoes of the family, will want to get up and dance and slice blocks to the beat. Thankfully there’s plenty of difficulty settings to satisfy even the most musically disinclined.

How long: 5 – 15 minutes per person

Why: Most songs last around five minutes, but you’re bound to encounter failures along the way, and also family members that just can’t help themselves for a second go at another song.

Store Links: Steam, Oculus Store, PlayStation Store

CREED: Rise to Glory

What: CREED: Rise to Glory (2018) is a highly polished arcade boxing game that puts you in the shoes of Adonis Creed, the protagonist of CREED (2016) and CREED II (2018). Punch, punch, punch, block and dodge.

Who: This may attract everyone, although make sure your family member is physically fit enough to go the distance for a full match.

How long: 5 – 10 minutes

Why: Freeplay matches against AI can last anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes, but depending on how much fun everyone is having, this might be a good opportunity to let your family members really flaunt their dodging and punching prowess for a few sessions.

Store Links: Steam, Oculus Store, PlayStation Store

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

What: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (2015) is the quintessential VR party game that puts one player in the VR hot seat, and leaves everyone else on the couch with a complicated manual instructing them how to disarm a life-threatening bomb. Only the VR player can see what’s going on though; team work makes the dream work.

Who: Everyone, although little Skippy McDingus could feel a bit left out if he can’t keep up with the instructions.

How long: 15 – 45 minutes

Why: This is one of those games that catches on quick, and gets everyone involved. Keeping one player in the headset for a longer amount of time than usual can still result in plenty of gaffs and laughs as the whole family blows up miserably, or disarms the bomb for victory.

Store links: Steam, Oculus Store, PlayStation Store


What: Insanely stylish, easy to pick up and play, Superhot VR (2017) tosses a little time-bending cartoon violence your family’s way that shouldn’t receive too many odd glances from the older generation.

Who: Younger, more game-savvy players are sure to love the concept, letting them live out their dreams of being an action hero. The concept is simple and slow enough to get anyone in the mood to punch some red crystal dudes in the face.

How long: 5 – 10 minutes

Why: A single stage can go by pretty quickly. It may be best to do a round-robin style match that lets everyone have a go when one player fails a level, or relegate a person to two to three of the smaller sections a piece.

Store links: Steam, ViveportOculus Store, PlayStation Store

Don’t Miss

  • Space Pirate Trainer – Han Solo doesn’t have anything on your Aunt Cathy. While it’s fundamentally just a wave shooter, it’s by far one of the best looking and best feeling out there. OculusSteam, PlayStation Store
  • ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission – Maybe not great for the crowd-pleasing wow factor, but after you show off some of the fan favorites above you might park a few more of your curious family members in a chair and let them experience the best platformer PSVR has to offer. PlayStation Store
  • Google Earth VR – The controls may take some explaining, but giving a loved one the opportunity to travel, especially if they aren’t physically able, is going to really be a special moment. Travel the sights and revisit distant places you never thought you’d see again in the flesh. Oculus and Steam
  • Coco VR – Pixar’s first VR experience is absolutely astounding. Ideal for the first timer of any age, the experience can last anywhere from 15-30 minutes per player. Oculus and Revive for Vive
  • The Lab – Valve’s collection of mini-games and photogrammetry scenes are top-notch, and warrant more than just a few minutes of you time to explore ever single bit of what’s on offer. Kids and adults a like will love the Longbow, Core Calibration, and XortexSteam

Oculus Go & Gear VR

Oculus Go and Gear VR are a bit tricky. As more of a personal media device, you’re likely better off trying to communicate the headset’s wide range of possibilities than dialing into the platform’s vast library of mobile VR games. You’ll probably have to cut off some family members at the pass and explain that it’s a seated experience and not standing, so designate a place to sit and wow them with a good mix of apps and games.

Make sure you know how to cast your screen to a TV first so everyone can see.

  • Oculus Venues – Plonking down a first-timer in the stands of a massive auditorium is a surefire way to elicit a few exclamatory “oooohs” and “aaaahs”. Explain that you can hang out with friends and watch live sporting events, comedy shows, and movie nights put on by Lionsgate Films.
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – The same fun as the PC VR version, but built for mobile devices. Just make sure to print out the instruction manual beforehand.
  • Thumper – A rhythm game that puts you in control of a futuristic space beetle, replete with a bumping beat and fast action.
  • Netflix VR – Same basic effect as Oculus Venues, but you’re sure to get a few solid “You mean this thing has Netflix?!” Yes. Yes, it does.
  • Coco VR – While not really a quick, pass-around-able app, you’ll want your family to stick their heads into one of the highest-quality VR apps out there, which takes you to the mystical underworld of Pixar’s animated film Coco.

You can find plenty more on the Oculus Store for Go and Gear VR, including a bunch of free games and experiences worth diving into.


Like Oculus Go and Gear VR, Daydream is probably best thought of as a media device more so than a VR gaming headset. There’s plenty of great stuff on Google Play for Daydream though.

  • Netflix VR – Yes, you can hypothetically watch Netflix on the toilet on your own private big screen TV. Yes, I have hypothetically done that (hypothetically).
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – The same fun as the PC VR version, but built for mobile devices. Just make sure to print out the instruction manual beforehand.
  • Google Street View – A trip down memory lane can get all sorts of long-unused neurons firing again. Take granny to her old house from the ’70s and let her relive the past, or plonk her down in front of the Eiffel Tower for a trip abroad. It’s not in 3D, but it’s still pretty neat.
  • Mekorama VR – A quiet puzzler, Mekorama VR tasks you with guiding a wibbly little robot pal through a series of 3D puzzles – of course with ever-increasing difficulty.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – While pretty thin in the gameplay department, the overall “wow” effect is big with this little Harry Potter Universe game that lets you explore the film’s world and even do a little magic too.

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Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t forget to charge your controllers, load up on batteries, and most importantly, spend some quality time with the family.

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  • Angry Netman

    All right! Looks like I have all those titles installed already, so I’m good to go

    If only VR had a way to keep my hard right uncle and my hard left dad from talking politics..

  • NooYawker

    I like to show people Vanishing Realms because it looks great and it’s easy to get the hang of and Paranormal activity because it’s always fun to scare the shit out of people.
    And for a quick demos, I give them Star Wars Trials of Tatooine, everyone loves that and Nvidia’s funhouse.

  • MosBen

    I know that it’s not the very best “game”, but in my experience people LOVE trying out virtual roller coasters. VR excels at presenting an imposing sense of scale, and virtual coasters are great at that. My go-to is Thrills & Chills (or something like that), but it only has three coasters. If someone wants to recommend another good coaster program, that’d be awesome.

    Similarly, The Blu is still one of the first things that I show people. Like coaster experiences, it nails the sense of scale and awe, and it still looks great. It’s really a shame that they haven’t done more of these sorts of experiences.

    And as annoying as it is to still be using this several years later, Nvidia’s free collection of carnival games has some real winners that everyone enjoys.

    The Oculus Studios non-interactive experiences, like Henry, are also great, and work for younger people.

    • HybridEnergy

      Same, blu+the Lab, then I move to something else. The blu first because there is zero learning curve , just room scale watching.

      • MosBen

        On the Oculus side, Dear Angelica is really good as well.

        Man, I’d love a list of really good non-interactive experiences to serve as first forays into VR. Games are great, but they can be intimidating to people that don’t generally play games, and the above list aside, it can be hard to find games that are easy to get newbies into and out of really quickly.

    • vtid

      Just my opinion but I’ve tried several roller-coaster apps and the reason they don’t work for me is they obviously don’t provide the stomach sensations that a real roller-coaster does. I did have fun in one app which had a multiplayer functionality though. Can’t remember the name but it was funny.

      • MosBen

        While obviously you can’t completely replicate the physical sensation of having your body dropped from a significant height by a roller coaster, most of the people that I show a VR roller coaster to do report a bit of stomach turning as they crest that first drop or enter a fast turn. It’s not a replacement for actual coasters, but it’s still pretty exciting for a lot of people.

  • Str][ker

    Richie’s Plank Experiment! How is this not on the list? It’s my goto for demonstrating VR to people who are new to VR.
    The Lab (mentioned already): This is usually the first thing I show people. It gives some basic instructions and was my very first introduction to VR on the Vive. I can still remember how awe-struck I was, standing in that huge warehouse type place.
    Brookhaven Experiment: This is a great introduction to wave shooters. It’s amazing and has so many “oh crap!” moments.
    Raw Data: Another fun wave shooter or Robo Recall (so much fun and great humor)

    • Hacker4748

      For a much better plank experience, try Plank Not Included ( ). It has around 15 different levels, you’ll start on a plank between two ladders, then between two buildings, two moving trains, two airplanes, in space… etc. I refunded Richie’s Plank Experience after finding out there is only one plank level where you get out of a skyscraper and that’s it.

  • HybridEnergy

    This is a great idea for a post Road to VR. The Lab is still a prime time for showcase. I’m also always scourging for kids games for when kids are over. Note to some, CREED may and will make people sweat, so think twice before putting your chunky chubby cousin Bob in it. I think Job Sim has too much of a learning curve to be honest. TheWaveVR is great to show throw someone older into a music experience where they just watch.

  • Vive Focus: Beat Reality :)

  • Andrew McEvoy

    I expect you to die is good for a laugh, especially if you’ve played through it all already and can help out with a hint every now and then when people get stuck.

  • mirak

    My cousin ( female) liked Zombie Training Simulator way more than Job Simulator.

    By the way Skippy McDingus will break your controllers xD