Minecraft VR

Created by: Mojang AB

Released 2016

Available on: Oculus Rift, Oculus Go

Viewing System: Oculus Rift

The experience is exactly what you’d expect; Minecraft where when you move for real you move in the game. While the actual gameplay was more or less fine, the setup was awkward. When I first boot up the game, it informs me that I need to update Windows to proceed despite none of the other experiences I tried requiring an update. After the update, it ask how comfortable I wanted the experience to be: either “confortable” or “intense”. The impression I was given about the options was that the latter would make more people nauseous, which biased me to choose the former. Instead, wish they gave a more detailed summary of the modes or gave their opinion of what type of user would enjoy which. Honestly if felt like the intense mode was a hold-over from them porting Minecraft over to VR without thinking about how movement (like the head bobbing) would make people sick.

Afterwards, I was informed of a node game-option the “living room” mode. And by informed I mean informed that it exists but not really what it does. The only thing it told me was I could press “y” to get out of it. However, I quickly learned what the new mode was after I was thrust into it. It was aptly named. I found myself in what could be mistaken for a living room and in front of me was a screen displaying the familiar Minecraft world. Perhaps I was being slow, but I was confused as to how to move Steve, the protagonist in the game. I could control him with the joystick but not by moving my head. Not the VR experience I was expecting. I tried to exit the mode by

pressing “y”, but given I’m in the headset, I did not know where the button was. I appreciate how they didn’t bore me with a forced tutorial, but they could have done a better job in explaining the controls. It did not need to be fancy; a little sign in the living room with a diagram would have been plenty.

I did finally manage to get into the real game. It felt like regular Minecraft. The first real think I did was climb to the highest point and jump off. I’m a big fan of the sensation of falling. However, the controls aren't intuitive, but after pressing all the buttons, I grew accustomed to them (I didn’t figure out how to run though). It did feel weird that jumping didn’t cause Steve to jump. I can understand the technical challenge and safety concern, but I kept jumping every time I came to a wall and consequently felt dumb. Eventually, I reached the peak of my journey and jumped and was amazed that I didn’t feel like I was really falling. I did try out other games on the headset and none of them gave the same feeling a dogfighting game on the Vive.