Did you know there’s a working piano in Half-Life: Alyx? You may be surprised to see just what talent this 1:1 recreation of a baby grand piano has attracted.

Playing the game’s virtual piano is a pretty difficult task, what with its patently thin finger-size keys and lack of solid force feedback—definitely a less ideal VR music-making platform by any stretch of the imagination. That hasn’t stopped an Internet’s worth of musicians from playing everything from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee to Still Alive from Valve’s Portal.

You’ll find plenty of shorter clips out there of people playing simple tunes—after all, you can only really play with two fingers on each hand reliably, so some of our favorites are invariably the compositions with multiple takes to fill in some of the complicated bits.

Flight of the Bumblebee – NitromathThePizzaGuy

 Avast Your Ass – NitromathThePizzaGuy

Still Alive – Lambomang

We’d love to see more talent filtered its way to the Half-Life: Alyx piano. Let us know your favorite in the comments below.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • dogtato

    it’s a little ironic because the audio is one of the weaker parts of the game, like if you hit any two objects together it always sounds mostly like nothing.

    • Bjørn Konestabo

      Jurassic Park: Trespasser did this better in 1998. In fact I don’t know of any game with a better audio when things bang together.

      The developers called it “Real-Time Foley”.

      • MosBen

        Is that game available to download somewhere? Ironically, it came out just a little before the original Half-Life. The controls were neat, but the game was a bit buggy, and when one of the most lauded games of all time comes out, well, it just kind of got forgotten.

        • User_Name_24601

          I remember that game very well. It came out and the physics were all over the place. It crashed and burned if I remember right.

  • Tonanamous

    Personally, I hate the sound of breaking glass at that spot in the game where you know where you’re new friend is…. Vodka Vodka everywhere but not a drop to drink.

  • Where is the piano?

    Also I kept finding these Team Fortress Scout statues, but I couldn’t figure out what to do with them.

    • kuhpunkt

      North Star hotel.

  • One of the first ones played In the End by Linking Park. It was cool

  • JB1968

    So you can play only using one finger at time? Looks cheaper than the “piano games” on Android. So the Index controller is useless? I thought it tracks all fingers?

    • vbscript2

      The Index controllers can track *grip* on each finger individually, but gripping isn’t how you play a piano (or at least not how most people play one…)

      You would need VR gloves to track all 10 fingers independently through their full range of motion. The Index controllers can only track your fingers when they’re touching it (which should be kind of obvious.)

  • Lulu Vi Britannia

    Dedicated piano software are way better than this. If you’re interested in VR piano, you should check out Instrument Studio VR. Really good VR music software, sadly it looks like the devs gave up on it (it didn’t receive a single update…).

    • david vincent

      Well the lack of haptics is one big flaw…

      • Lulu Vi Britannia

        It’s not that big a flaw. You won’t be able to play Mozart, but most people can’t do it in real life either, lol. You can still have fun and learn piano in VR without haptics.
        Besides, Alyx also has this issue, since it’s also VR piano.

        • david vincent

          No you can’t properly play piano without perfect fingers tracking (VR gloves) and perfect haptics. And even less learn it. VR keyboards are just toys and probably won’t never replace my MIDI keyboard.

          • Lulu Vi Britannia

            Yes, I can and I did… Midi keyboards are physical but don’t have the same feels as a real piano (not the same scale), meaning it doesn’t get you used to a piano at all (or at least not as well as VR).
            MIDI keyboard are the actual toys. VR piano is a simulation system.

  • Robin Spottiswoode

    I’m developing a free VR piano app on Oculus Quest. I’d love to get some feedback! You can download on SideQuest, just search for Grand Reality. Thanks :)