Before his death, acclaimed psychonaut and technologist Terrence McKenna once said that virtual reality “…is a technology that will allow us to show each other our dreams. We will be able to build structures in the imagination that we cannot now share with each other.” Playthings, a prototype interactive experience from Always & Forever Computer Entertainment, is like the wonderfully manic fever dream of a candy-fuelled pre-teen, and we need to see more.
Playthings developer George Michael Brower told us that since starting out on the project in November of last year “…it’s been like a major relief to finally ‘get it off my chest.’ I was primarily doing web stuff before this, which is very very simple to get in front of a lot of people: web browsers are quite prevalent, room-scale VR HMD’s, not so much right now…”
Brower’s affair with VR started when he moved out of his home office into a shared studio space with a few friends in Brooklyn, NY. Fortuitously, an Oculus Rift DK1 was there waiting for him and what followed next was nothing short of a creative exorcism.
“I just kind of got obsessed and this thing started pouring out of me without any real plan. The past few months have been like a major creative explosion for me, but it’s also been so frustrating to see anything in the news or on social media pertaining to VR [and not be able to talk about Playthings].”
For the sake of quick prototyping, Playthings currently sends MIDI out to external software synths. Because of this, Brower isn’t actively sharing any demos of Playthings, as he’s still working out some of the more fundamental mechanics of the game so it can work for a larger home audience. Brower has however recently licensed the game (and synth setup) for two events at NY Fashion Week.
“People in fashion are supposed to take themselves too seriously, so it was really fun to watch these highly refined individuals become toddlers once they get the drumsticks in their hands,” Brower said.
Although he maintains that the teaser video was an effort to “throw it against the Internet-wall and see how that reaction stirs [his] insides and decide what to do next from there,” we hope we’ll be playing hamburger drums and hot dog xylophones on the HTC Vive in the near future.