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E3 Conference: Testing out the future of virtual reality and gaming

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Jacob Margolis/KPCC

Scenes from inside the 2014 E3 Conference.

Walking into the Electronic Entertainment Expo is like walking into a casino, but with a lot more blood, gore and murder. Lights are flashing, music's playing, bomb sounds and gory posters are hanging from the walls. But believe it or not, there are actual games and technology available to check out.

Let's start of with a virtual reality system. The Virtuix Omni - is just that.

Virtuix Omni

Its made of three components: A standard controller, an Oculus Rift and the Omni base station.

First off, the Rift is an immersive headset, that looks similar to a virtual reality helmet you've likely seen on TV. It beams a stereo image of whatever game you're in, through the device, and you become completely immersed in that game's world. When you turn your head, the screen shifts, mimicking head an eye movements similar to real life.

But paired up with the Omni, the system becomes more immersive. The bowl looking base station lets run in place, turn, change direction and actually move in real life and have those movements shadowed by the character in the game. A harness holds you up and you sort of float on the platform using special shoes that don't give you any traction. And there are sensors in the base station that can tell where you're trying to move.

At first it feels like you're stumbling around drunk on a sheet of ice, but eventually it becomes an immersive experience. 

Legend of Zelda

When it comes to games, the new Legend of Zelda and the new Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, were two talked about titles at E3. They're different from one another, but they're both open world games.  What it means is that rather than playing linearly, you can just explore an entire world. If you see mountains in the distance, you can go to those mountains.

You can interact with nature, and rather than playing mission after mission, you can do a little exploring. This has been a trend for a while now, but the fact that these two major franchises, which have never been open world, are going this route, is an indication that open world might be the way to go.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Speaking of Zelda,  Nintendo released a bunch of new titles, including a new installment of the Super Smash Brothers. It's a fighting game which pits Nintendo characters against each other. So, you can have Mario and Luigi fight Yoshi and Bowser. It's been one of Nintendo's most successful franchises.

Evolve was the darling of E3. It's a game where four fighters go up against a monster, which gets stronger over the course of the game. The thing is, every character is manned by someone, including the monster. So, four friends against one forces people to work together to defeat one evil beast.

Evolve

It was surprisingly difficult to find a video game with a strong female protagonist at E3. But, the indie game Velocity 2X had just that. Actually, Sony's has been working with indie gaming companies to bring their games to the Playstation, because it's harder to develop for their console than for PC. And lately there's been an explosion of indie games. They're fun. They're cheap and a lot of the time they're quick moving. 

Velocity 2X

For those of you who want to dance, there are a couple of picks. Check out Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved. It's a rhythm based dance game that you play with the Microsoft Kinect an Xbox. And you get points for sort of swiping and dancing.

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved

And then there's the successful video game franchise Just Dance from Ubisoft. They're releasing the next installment, which is just a sort of update to the old game. But it's got new music from people like Pharrell and Charlie XCX.

 


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