More VR Content
August 12, 2020
Having to deal with pain sucks. Doing so while also being threatened by a global pandemic doesn’t make things easier. If you’re like me and value the occasional distraction from your pain challenges by engaging in something enjoyable, this blog talks a little about some new quality content on Oculus Quest that I’ve discovered. The next blog will introduce three new 180° 3D videos we’ve made for those with neuropathic pain seeking to experiment with some VRx Therapy.
Oculus Quest Content
You might remember from my previous blog (https://www.vrxtherapy.org/blog/OculusQuest) that I’ve tried to group VR content based on how it might help to reduce the experience of pain. The distraction content is short-term pain relief, while the therapeutic 3D videos are an experiment at longer term changing of the brain (neuroplasticity) to hopefully reduce or eliminate the phantom pain signals.
Distraction Through Action Games and Apps
All of these games can be found in the Oculus Store.
I Expect You To Die is “a virtual reality puzzle game that places you in the well-polished shoes of an elite secret agent. You must attempt to survive deadly situations in immersive and dangerous locales. It takes time and focus to try and solve each operation using your skills and wits, but it’s fun to accomplish each level assuming you have the patience for puzzles.” One of the really nice things about this game is that you play it sitting, so whether I’m in my wheelchair or on my bed, I can play this game with just turning my head and at times my torso. Lastly, if you get stuck, there are ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube with solutions to each puzzle. I highly recommend this game.
Bait is a simple and relaxing virtual fishing game. Surprisingly engaging, it’s the fun part of fishing without the mess and swallowed hooks. In this game you catch rare fish and save the aquarium where you work. It’s free to download and has in-app purchase options. Played sitting down, it’s probably the most chill action game I’ve played so far, but I actually like it better and find it more calming than a lot of the meditation apps. I highly recommend trying it out.
Please Don’t Touch Anything is “a cryptic, brain-racking button-pushing puzzle game. Covering for a colleague, you find yourself in front of a mysterious console with a green screen monitor showing a pixelated live image of an unknown city. Also present is an ominous red button with the simple instruction to not touch anything! Push the red button once or press it many times. Your choices and actions will lead to outrageous consequences and over 30 unique puzzle endings.” This game requires you to move around the virtual room to scavenge for clues, tools, and buttons to solve riddles and trigger explosive events. If you get stuck, there are ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube providing at least some of the clues to solving the puzzles. This game isn’t as fun as “I Expect You To Die”, but it’s worth checking out if you like a good puzzle to solve.
Tetris was first published in 1984 for the PC and from my first exposure to this game, I’ve enjoyed challenging myself to see how many lines and levels I could complete. A couple of years ago I read an article on neuropathic pain that recommended Tetris as a good game to distract you and provide some pain relief. I downloaded it for my iPad and once again found the hours slipping by me as I got engrossed in the game. Unfortunately, around 6 months ago the Tetris game was discontinued on the iPad. When I saw it available in the Oculus Store, for VR, with a price of $34.99, I hesitated to purchase it at first, but eventually gave in figuring that I always enjoyed the game, so it should be worth it. What a disappointment! Instead of being a straightforward and simple game, the publishers have turned this into a dog’s breakfast of VR overstimulation. I spent a couple of hours trying to adjust the controls to make it easier to play, but the reality for me was that I found myself getting more anxious and irritated by the visual, audio, and haptic inputs. Disappointed that I can’t recommend this game, I deleted it and got a refund.
Supernatural makes me think of Peloton for VR, but without the bike. Using your body you can follow a virtual instructor through different movements, like hitting virtual balls that come at you with your virtual bats. Each workout places you in a unique and beautiful 3D view of an exotic place somewhere in the world. While not a lot different than games like Beat Saber, this subscription service will be more focused on tracking the amount and intensity of the exercises you do over time. Like Beat Saber, this game/app isn’t the best for people who live from a wheelchair, as both games/apps require lower body movements like squatting and lunging. This is probably best for people who consider themselves very sedentary and are seeking something to get them to move and exercise a little. For a more serious athlete like myself, I’d rather do exercise that is harder, like riding my handcycle or going for a swim. That said, Supernatural is free to try the demo and tutorial, so why not give it a go and see if you like it yourself
I hope you find these reviews and suggestions helpful. If you have some content that you recommend, please let me know and I can add it to an upcoming blog.