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Wonderful You

Stills: Courtesy of the BDH Design & Direction

(Stills, Courtesy of the BDH Design & Direction)


Released: 2017

Available for: Oculus Go, Rift, GearVR

In “Wonderful You,” one experiences a gestational journey into the miracle of human development. The piece hopscotches around our nine months inside the womb, tracking in trippy color and sound the development of your senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. And the soothing tones of Samantha Morton, (probably best known for her role as “Agatha” the most powerful waterborne “precog” in the film, “Minority Report”) (re)carries you along your journey from clump of dividing cells to fully-sensing little water baby.

I appreciated the science backbone of the piece, and the pacing of the biological wow nuggets throughout the script. But the writing purposefully kept the jargon to a minimum, and no part of the experience felt beyond even an audience with a high school science background.

The design aesthetic is transcendental and vibrant. The palette and animation choices lent to the immersion and also to a sense that our senses are really all about chemicals, connection, and electricity from the start. I did notice that there were a few sections in the sight section where the brightness of the ‘spotlight from outside the womb’ was quite harsh — though I understood that, while a tad painful, to be a recognition of the eyes’ first sight through still developing visual apparatus. This is a thought that could have been played with a bit more in the other senses, particularly concerning sound. (And with a haptic suit addon...touch. Taste, well, you’d need a “Sensorama” for that one.)

Stills: Courtesy of the BDH Design & Direction

(Stills, Courtesy of the BDH Design & Direction)

I viewed “Wonderful You” on Samsung’s GearVR, which necessarily limited any agency in the experience. From videos I’ve seen of game play, it appears that there are opportunities to trigger the virtubaby’s developing senses while in the experience, which may have been fun.

Overall, I think the experience was lovely and meditative, and that it gently reinforced how amazing it is that we all get put together the way we do in the first place.