For eons we've wondered what it would be like to walk around in a bona fide Virtusphere
, and at GDC last week we finally got our chance. The large plastic cage can turn and roll in any direction, and once replete with a wireless head-mounted display and fake gun, we were ready to take on some polygonal alien baddies. Getting into the cage is surprisingly easy, but unfortunately once we had a screen strapped to our head our well-honed sense of balance was right out the window, and we found ourselves staggering around a bit as we got used to the motion of the cage. The real military versions have a motion sensing gun controller, but we had to do all our aiming with our head, which didn't help. After a minute or so we got used to the "momentum" involved in moving the cage, which felt pretty great, but we'd say our favorite part about the experience was just being able to turn in place to confront baddies -- there's something about a few well placed steps that really blows away a left or right tug on our 360 controller's analog stick. At the end of the day the sheer size, cost, and ultra-dated graphics has us hardly pining for one of these in our living rooms, but with a bit more work on the gaming end (and a working gun pointer) we could see this as the arcade experience to beat. Check out a video of our harrowing experience (from outside and
inside) after the break.
Virtusphere virtual reality hamster ball put to the test