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Oculus Rift, Kinect and a stationary bike power virtual reality Paperboy homage

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Using the combined technologies of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, a Kinect motion sensor and a stationary bike outfitted with a Bluetooth-enabled Kickr training device, tech company Globacore has created an immersive first-person homage to classic Atari arcade game Paperboy.

Dubbed PaperDude VR, the game is built in Unity and captures the essence of Paperboy, if not wholly recreating it. Thanks to the Oculus Rift, players get a full 3D view of their virtual paper route, while Kinect tracks the motion of thrown newspapers based on arm movement and hand position. The Kickr, paired with an iPad, tracks speed and cadence as players pedal their way through an on-rails course, according to the developer.

Players are rewarded for accurate throws, but penalized for whiffing (and breaking a subscriber's front window). While there are obstacles in the road, more serious threats like sidewalk surfing skateboarders, angry neighborhood dogs and grim reapers aren't in the current "early prototype" version of PaperDude VR.

Toronto-based Globacore says it has plans to add more Paperboy-authentic features to the project, addressing the "lack of breakdancers, ghetto blasters and rogue lawnmowers" in the game. The developer says it might even add the dirt bike course that capped each stage of Paperboy and internet-based leaderboards. For now, virtual reality home delivery of newspapers will have to suffice.

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