The turkey is in the oven, the cranberry sauce is in the can, and your VR setup is in the box ready to be shown off to the family at Thanksgiving. Since you’ll be doing a fair bit of VR evangelizing on the big day, an important question remains before you can plug your unwitting relatives into ‘the final computing platform’: what do you show off first?
Assuming you aren’t actually hosting Thanksgiving, undoubtedly the easiest VR systems to lug around would be the selection of mobile VR headsets currently on offer, namely Google Daydream and Gear VR. With a little careful planning though, you can pack up your PS4 console and PSVR, or your entire Vive/Rift/Windows VR system—just make sure the house has adequate space (and electrical outlets!) for room-scale gaming. Unless otherwise requested, you should probably also keep sessions short and simple for VR newcomers.
Here’s a few recommendations for getting Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Ted, Aunt Rachel and your little cousin Skippy McDingus into VR for the first time:
- Smash Hit (2016): With its constant forward motion and a simple objective (smash the glass), almost anyone can understand Smash Hit. The game’s futuristic setting and great soundtrack also help give off the “woah, I’m in the future” vibe.
- Minecraft (2017): Little Skippy will do and learn anything to play Minecraft in VR. Set up a station in the corner, put on a 10-minute timer and get all the Little Skippies taking turns.
- Oculus Video: Load up a movie and toss your Uncle Ted in for his own private cinema. Yes, Ted. You can watch *other things* too.
- Within: Let’s face it – most 360 video is crap. Within however offers a wide selection of curated content that looks pretty darn good considering both mono and stereoscopic (3D) 360 video still isn’t where it needs to be technically speaking. Still very much worth a gander.
- Mekorama VR (2017): A quiet puzzler for Aunt Gracie, Mekorama VR tasks you with guiding a wibbly little robot pal through a series of 3D puzzles – of course with ever-increasing difficulty.
- Bait! (2017): Somebody in your family loves fishing. I’m not even going to make up a pretend name. (also on Gear VR)
- LEGO BrickHeadz Builder VR (2017): Ok. So it’s not Minecraft, the delightful little building app comes in second place with the ability to build LEGO structures without the need for clean up.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2017): 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.
- Farpoint (2017): While it’s an intense trip for sure thanks to the immersiveness of holding the PS Aim controller while actually having to locomote across the map, there’s somebody in the group who’ll appreciate the ability to walk distant planets and shoot the ever-living shit out of the native inhabitants.
- Allumette (2016): Sit grandma down for a story about a young orphan girl who lives in a fantastical city in the clouds. It’s a tear jerker, so make sure to give gam-gam a big hug from us all.
- Fruit Ninja VR (2016): Just like the popular mobile game, Fruit Ninja on PSVR is easy to understand. Fruit goes up. Fruit gets sliced. Have a competition to see who can get the highest score!
- PlayStation VR Demo Disc 2 (2017): PSVR’s updated demo disc is jam-packed with upcoming games and crowd favorites. Most are short enough to plug in a person for a quick 10-20 minute play session. Oh, and definitely play Moss.
Rift & Vive (and Windows VR)
- Google Earth VR (2017) – Oculus and SteamVR: 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.
- Space Pirate Trainer (2016) Oculus and SteamVR: Han Solo doesn’t have anything on your Auntie Rachel. While it’s fundamentally just a wave shooter, it’s by far one of the best-looking and feeling out there.
- Bigscreen Beta (2016) Oculus and SteamVR: Pop on a video and get your relatives reeling at the future possibility of never having to buy a TV ever again.
- Coco VR (2017) – Oculus: 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. check out our hands-on here. Vive and Windows VR headset users have had varying levels of success with Revive, so it’s definitely worth a poke.
- The Lab (2016) SteamVR: 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 Xortex.