After experimenting more with virtual reality applications, I find that I most enjoy games involving movement and agility. Today, for example, I played games that mirrored the olympic sports of archery and tennis. Located in the application called The Lab, the archery game had me immersed in a medieval environment, shooting tiny stick figures in order to save the bridge of my castle. This task alone does not sound very exciting, but the genuine feeling of drawing and shooting a bow captivated me to the mission.
As I repeatedly loaded, aimed, and released arrow after arrow, I began to feel like I was getting a true workout, just as if I was at an outdoor shooting range. This type of upper-body workout I imagine is uncommon in most video games, with traditional games working only the index finger and thumb that grip the controller.
HolloBall, the game that mirrors tennis, gave me a similar effect. The game requires you to hit a ball back and forth with a wall, never allowing the ball to whiz past you. With the high-speed ball being thrown left and right, this game can be easily categorized as cardio. Although the area I used for playing was considerably smaller than a tennis court, I found myself constantly in motion.
Playing these games on VR reminded me of the first time I played Wii sports. Both provided me with actual means of exercise through virtual environments. Only this time, with VR, I felt I was truly in the game— balls flew at me, not stopping at a television screen, and arrows were released directly from my hands. It is not hard to imagine the ways that VR will be able to enhance basic sports and expand the accessibility of more elaborate sports. In a matter of years, we may just go mountain biking in our bedrooms, fishing in our friends’ basements, and skiing in our office buildings.