The story you are about to read isn’t going to win any “father of the year” awards. But if I had caught it on video, I would be a millionaire already.
I’ve been testing a lot of PlayStation VR lately following its recent launch in October. One of the games I very much enjoy is Playroom VR, a collection of minigames done with a kid friendly aesthetic. One of these games is two player, and has the person in VR playing as a cat hiding behind a curtain. The other players, using a standard controller and watching the TV screen, play as mice hiding under a tin can trying to sneak around to capture cheese. If the cat sticks his head out of the curtain at the same time the mouse is moving, the cat wins.
Literally and figuratively, a game of cat and mouse.
Having just played a few other games and been impressed by my five-years-old son’s ability to pick up the mechanics, we gave this cat/mouse minigame a go. He started by playing as the cat, which I thought was the easier mechanic as it required no sticks or buttons – just moving your head. As I explained to him, all you need to do is lean your head forward to poke the cat’s head through the curtain. In the little pre-game tutorial he did that just fine.
When the game started, he was ready and waiting. My little mouse and his mice buddies came out into the playing field carrying a plate of cheese. My son’s cat watched on behind the curtain, licking his virtual lips. As the mice lined up with the cat, I yelled, “now!”
The cat leapt forward through the curtains. But so did my son. He pounced off the couch as a human javelin. Arching across the room like the harbour bridge; arms pinned to his side. Mouth agape, ready to swallow the mouse in front of him whole. It happened so quick, I didn’t have time to react.
He landed face first on the floorboards, mercifully landed just inches in front of the entertainment unit upon which a very expensive TV perched. The sound of plastic creaking under the impact switched to that of a gasp as he rolled to his back and the large VR headset spilled onto the floor beside him. He looked up with a pure, unadulterated “WTF” face as tears began to stream down his face.
And all I could do is laugh. And comfort. And laugh. And laugh. And comfort. The two of which are mutually exclusive. I wonder what it looked like from his perspective – he would have been rushing towards his mouse dinner and then, just as he got there - just as the taste of cheese-flavoured mouse tippy-tapped on the tip of his tongue – wham!
Reality, in your face. Bad ol’ puddy tat!
For more on VR, check out our article Someone Will Die Playing VR, and our recent hands-on with A Township Tale.
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