My first appointment at E3 is interrupted by a tall man with fading red hair.
I'm laying on a bean bag, feet pointing at a TV screen on the ground. I have to take my headset off to look up at the man. He seems familiar. His facial expression tells me that he is keen to take his turn on the game. We have all seen this expression.
As I test my creaking joints, and pick myself up off the floor, I remember where I have seen him. He's that amusing chap from television, Conan O'Brien. He wants his turn on the PlayStation 4 VR system called Morpheus, and I can't blame him.
The demo I just got playing is Street Luge, in which I lay down, and zoom down a street, dodging cars and trucks and turns by moving my head. In fact, such is the game's intensity that I move my body and feet too, although this has no effect on the game.
I can zip past cars, and even underneath large trucks, as I trundle down the hill. It's a 180 degree experience, but it requires no controllers. Anyone can play. It's a good commercial for VR in general and for PlayStation 4's Morpheus in particular.
As Conan gets rigged up with the game, I elect not to join the gaping, grinning people looking down at him. He is cracking wise and clearly enjoying himself. I move onto the next demo. It's Eve: Valkyrie.
This is a 3D space dogfight that was already shown at GDC earlier this year, though it's come along a great deal since then. Originally built in Unity, it's been remade in Unreal Engine 4.
I spend 10 minutes flitting around the environs of a space station, gazing down at a great planet, chasing other spaceships. I shoot some and loose off rockets at another. I bag two kills. Gameplay-wise, it's a first-person 3D space shooter, but the ability to look up, down and around for my prey (or my hunters) makes it a fuller experience. The "glass" of my cockpit is scuffed. It all feels entirely convincing. It's fun.
Morpheus is still very much in development. There is no price set yet, and no release date. Unlike competitors such as Oculus Rift (which is likely better funded and resourced) this will only address the PlayStation 4 market. Still, it works well. It delivers fun experiences.
Finally, I grab couple of Move controllers and play the Castle demo that was shown back at GDC. I can grab swords, mace and crossbow, and take apart a ragdoll knight. The demo ends with a giant dragon flying down from the castle battlements. It's huge.
VR demands that I look up at the creature and, in doing so, I appreciate how much Morpheus does a great job of projecting scale and danger. A thing much larger than me is looming. This is not the same as looking at a big boss in a standard video game. I am looking up at it.
I take the headset off just in time to see Conan O'Brien leave the demo area, trailed by his flunkies. He seems like he enjoyed the demo too.
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