Valve’s collection of VR-minigames, The Lab, is one of the highest rated SteamVR titles and it’s free. With support for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, there’s no reason not to try it if you own a PC VR headset. Beyond some very polished mini-games, Valve has included quite a few easter eggs to uncover.
Released all the way back in April 2016, the company has proven their game development talent once again with The Lab, a free collection of Valve-developed VR mini games set in Portal’s ‘Aperture’ universe. Inside the lab you can stick your head into a wide range of short VR experiences from photogrammetry to archery. But once you’re done inside the ‘Pocket Universes’, there’s lots of fun still left to be found in Pocket Universe Lab 08. Here’s a list of our favorite secrets in The Lab (see the video heading this article):
Inside The Lab is a very fun game called Xortex, which tasks you with using your VR controller to fly a little ship around in a 3D ‘Bullet Hell’ game. Before you step into the game however, you’ll notice a pink Xortex 28XX arcade machine. Step up close, press the credit button, and grab the joystick to play a mini-mini-game, which also serves as a list of Valve credits. If you’re patient, you’ll get a mini-mini-boss fight at the end who you’ll recognize from elsewhere in The Lab.
Sacrifice Your Humanity for Convenient Carrying
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could pack up that adorable robo-puppy for easy transportation? Well, if you can bear to shoot your lovable robo-pup with an arrow, you’ll find that it occasionally turtles into a portable little pill shape. Now you can pick it up and take it with you, but you sadly can’t put it in the slingshot (you monster).
‘Bendy’, the stick figure you’re undoubtedly familiar with by now (who could forget how they stormed your keep in Longbow?) apparently comes in all shapes and sizes. Hidden behind Longbow is a little Bendy in a jar. If you bring the Rhythm Core over from the table in the middle of the lab, you can get him to bust a move.
Bendy Behind the Locked Door
Head near the ‘Postcards’ experience and you’ll find a door with a window. The door is locked, but attempting to open it will trigger a series of different Bendy vignettes, including a headless Bendy zombie.
Valve Demo Room 1
Head back to the ‘Postcards’ experience and unplug the cable running into the jacks under the photos. Normally you can move this plug from one postcard to another to load a different photogrammetry experience. If you plug it into the valve on the left, however, you’ll get treated to a visit inside Valve’s headquarters and a little VR history.
Ping Pong with Turrets
Inside the Valve Demo Room 1 experience, you can break the glass and activate the fire alarm which will enable little turrets the spring forth from the markers on the walls. They’ll lazily fire little balls at you which you can bat back with the ping pong paddle sitting on the desk. On the floor you’ll see the balls satisfyingly roll down a little drain back to their home.
Valve Demo Room 2
There’s another hidden VR demo room that you can visit inside of Valve’s headquarters, but you’ll need to go another layer deeper. Inside the Valve Demo Room 1, pick up the headset from the floor and put it on. Inside you’ll see the second Valve VR demo room with a model of Atlas, the robot from Portal 2. Look up high and you’ll see the prototype Lighthouse base stations employed during the time the scene was captured. Peek off to the right of the computer for a further glimpse into Valve’s offices.
Pop Balloons with Pins and Lasers
Inside the Valve Demo Room 2 experience, you’ll find yet another fire alarm. Smash the glass and activate it to have balloons begin cascading down from the ceiling. Use the triggers on your controllers to activate pins and pop the balloons, or use the highly effective lasers which you can activate with your grip buttons.
More Pocket Universes?
Signage inside Pocket Universe Lab 08 urges players to keep their cores powered or risk the consequences. If you keep your eye on the Bendy workers along the conveyor belt, you may spot one who trips while moving a box, spilling what appear to be unpowered Pocket Universe cores. If you use the bow to kill the worker before he can clear up his mess, three cores remain on the ground. If only we could reach them….