There’s absolutely one constant with virtual reality, it’s a medium that provides an experience that cannot be adequately described. You have you be shown to understand what good VR feels like. It’s a sentiment developer of VR shooter Z0NE took to heart when he headed to Comic-con armed with an Oculus Rift DK2 and a healthy dose of front.
We first came across James Andrew, developer at and founder of PixelRouter, back in April when he crashed PAX East in order to evangelise his VR game called Rift Wars. With no space booked at the event, Andrew took it upon himself to turn up to the event anyway and try his luck. As it happened, things worked out better than he could have imagined and Andrew ended up demo’ing to hundreds of VR newbies at an impromptu stand blagged for the purpose. It was a nice example of balls-out guerilla marketing and the response from those that tried the game, now entitled Z0NE, was extremely positive.
Andrew is now back with another adventure to share, this time in the form of a short documentary which charts his antics at this year’s Rhode Island Comic-con. This time, his initial presence was above board but, not satisfied with the wealth of positive feedback he’d received at this official stand on the first day, he decided to crash an after show party to setup shop, exposing Z0NE to even more people – seemingly equally impressed. Seems that the word of VR has really spread beyond the hardcore into the mainstream, a nice example being the security guard’s excitable reactions when they realised what Andrew had with him.
When I asked James to share his personal thoughts on the weekend, he told me “The videos speak so much for themselves. There is this electric energy wherever we show Z0NE.”. “The thing which makes me so happy to see, is that people who play Z0NE are not just impressed by the technology, but they are transported to a place which brings them, almost universally, into a state of intense happiness and exhilaration.”, says James “What better reward as an artist and game creator, than to see this level of joy on people’s faces?” A sentiment that’s hard to disagree with.
So what’s next for the world’s only Guerilla VR Developer? “..we’ve been on tour, showing Z0NE at all of the most popular GameStop locations in Manhattan. Last night, we caused quite a scene at the Union Square location. The manager was very cool to let us set up right by the door and soon we had a crowd made up of people who just walked into the store. The energy was palpable.”
So as I said, VR is a medium that has to be seen to be believed. But, even me as a veteran virtual reality enthusiast, couldn’t help but be further enthused by the reactions Z0NE and the Oculus Rift DK2 drew from the show goers featured in the video. It’s reactions like these that remind me why VR is going to change the world and why VR evangelists out there on the ground, just like James, are crucial in spreading the good word.