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The Lab is Valve's VR return to the Portal universe

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This is the first thing you should play in your HTC Vive

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The Lab is a series of eight experiences that come free with the HTC Vive virtual reality platform, and we're going to go ahead and argue that it's the first thing you should play when your hardware arrives.

Each short demo is connected by a hub world that's set in the Portal universe, and you'll unlock little toys and fun things to play with in that hub by going through each of the demos. It's a great introduction to the technology and controls of the HTC Vive, while showing off how versatile the hardware is in terms of the games and experiences it can provide.

What's so interesting about The Lab is how excited Valve seems to get you to play inside of VR. There's very little point to any of this, but the act of throwing a stick to a dog in VR to have it fetch it back and have its belly rubbed feels great. There's a remote-controlled drone you can play with in the hub section that's likewise a neat test of dexterity, while having very little point outside of showing off how cool this stuff can be in virtual reality.

Check it out for yourself in the video above, but we're going to warn you that watching it isn't nearly as cool as playing it for yourself.