VR Gaming Ideas from the 2017 Global Game Jam

Virtual reality has generally been targeted at offering a beneficial platform for gaming and help improve the gamer’s interaction. Generally, it’s one of the best ways to engage and help gamers understand and enjoy game play through virtual reality system.

A few years ago, Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR) only featured in science fiction cinemas, but it wasn’t until 2016 that several concepts really became a reality and were made available for the consumers in the gaming industry. We had several headsets that used AR and VR (Mixed Reality) such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Google’s Day Dreamer, Sony’s PlayStation VR and Samsung Gear.

Unfortunately, even with the VR and AR technologies hitting the market in a massive way, the reception in the gaming industry wasn’t just decent enough and 2016 turned out an inaugural year for the technology. Although they were even used by tech enthusiasts in other sectors, the technology still didn’t have a good run last year.

So, as we move into 2017, companies have put in place several strategies that would turn 2017 into the year when VR and AR will be broadly embraced by the mass market.

Therefore, to give you a clear picture on how the technology is progressing in 2017, we decided to take a look at VR game that stood out from the recently concluded Global Game Jam 2017.

Last Ascent

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/last-ascent

Away from just being developed for Google Cardboard VR, Last Ascent has several great concepts for it to fit on my list of best VR games. Generally, the artistic graphics of the game are brilliant to apply the VR technology into it.

“Grapple and blast through ancient towers as you climb toward your destination. A VR experience enabled by Google Cardboard.”

Credit: Allen Lau, Tyson Kubota and Kj Chun

Jam Site:  NYU Game Center

Platforms: iPhone

Monster Waves

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/monster-waves

Do you love to playing horror games? Well, Monster Waves brings in a unique experience to gamers by applying the VR technology in its game play.

Here, you’ll have to befriend the monsters and not running and killing monsters like in most games. Winning is just banked on how many monsters you befriend around your nest.

“Monsters in dungeons are scary. But they don’t have to be! Monster Waves allows you to befriend a variety of monsters and make your dungeon setting a little friendlier. Designed for HTC Vive!”

Credits: Adam Liss, Brad Crosen, Cari M, Cary Harr, Lauren Nishikawa, Michelle Shen, Mike Matos, Nora Harr, Roxanne, and Trey Reyher

Jam Site: Deloitte Digital Global Game Jam

Platforms: MS Windows

Sky Shepherd

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/sky-shepherd

This game employs a good use of VR and the “wave” theme, by slamming you fists into the ground to round up your flock of sheep.

“The sheep have gone crazy, and it’s up to you to corral them! Guide the wayward sheep with your room scale VR fists: slam the ground, send shockwaves at the sheep, and hope they understand this method of herding. You have 60 seconds to gather as many sheep as possible, and post your high score!”

Credits: Jeremy Bernstein, Shem Nguyen, Greg Felber, Jon Gagnon, Keri Fullwood

Jam Site: Facebook HQ

Platforms: Web standard (HTML5, Java, JavaScript, Flash)

Relay

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/relay

“You work for The Government. Your job is to listen in to people’s conversations and report any unlawful and politically incorrect activities. There is a lot of reading here. Sorry.”

Relay managed to bring a different touch on how VR can really help in gaming, and still help individuals who enjoy reading-games having a unique experience.

So, in this game you play as a government employee who reports every unlawful activities by reading conversations.

Credits: Andrzej Dominowski, Jakub Witczak, Cezary Skorupka, and Krzysztof Gnutek

Jam Site: Łódzki Game Jam 4

Platforms: MS Windows

UniVRsal Translator: Private Detective

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/univrsal-translator-private-detective

In this game you’ll be questioning aliens (speaking different languages) about murders onboard a space ship, and you translator will be working to translate the fictional alien dialect. The translator is not so much helpful, so you’ll be required pick up the chunks they speak and listen to them to make complete statements.

And this where VR really becomes helpful in gaming.

“Your job is on board a far-out space station, working for the local police force. Armed with your translation machine, you’re a high-ranking member of the Alien Translation Department but today your trusty machine is broken! It’s spitting out the translated alien speech as individual chunks of datacube, what a catastrophe! Pick them up and listen to them, then arrange them in the correct order to get clues for your cases and find the culprit in three murder mysteries!”

Credits: Dom Litner, Bryan Henderson, Dan Allan, and Gary McCartan

Jam Site: Abertay University

Platforms: MS Windows

Drakkar 1956

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/drakkar-1956

“A VR based game where you can experince naval combat while surrounded with a realistic sea environment. Bring your enemies down by shooting your ship’s lateral cannons before they hit your boat.”

Credits: Daniel Rodrigo, Daniela, and Diego Sebastián

Jam Site: U-tad Game Jam On – VR Edition

Platform: MS Windows

Be Polite, Right!

Source: http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/be-polite-right

This is a game that typically involves good communication skills, and how to relate to new people. In this game, you’ll have to match the greeting of every robot you meet in your neighborhood, and failure to match the greeting or taking long to respond makes them violent.

“It’s scary stuff, being a human in a robot world. Luckily, the robots around here are pretty accepting… but only if you make an effort to fit in. Meet your friendly neighbours as you stroll through town, copying their greeting gestures to give them warm buzzy feelings inside. But beware, getting a gesture wrong or taking too long is an easy way to make an enemy. But don’t worry, just stay calm, get out there and don’t forget… Be polite, right!”

Credits: Tom Elliott, Jordan Hildrew, Tobias Koepp, Jake Rowe, Vincent Webb, and Mark Wilson 

Jam Site: Coatsink Country House Global Game Jam

Platforms: MS Windows

My list is based on personal contentment and amusements, and you can find more games that would fit you interests here.

Conclusion

As we move into 2017 with huge expectations from VR and AR, there has been several predictions on what we should expect. Although some of these predictions may sound so right, its generally important that we wait and for what the manufacturers will be offering this year. The hype is necessary, but patients pays after all.

Currently, VR and AR have the gaming industry in some sort of an arms race to see who can get the most out of them first. And as things stand, VR plays a key role on deciding how people will be interacting with the game play platforms in the future, hence more attention should be drifted towards it.

Besides, VR is already being absorbed in other sector and the gaming industry cannot be left behind in this huge transformation.

Bonus Video:

Here is Relay from the Global Game Jam 2017.