Linux Gaming News

Embrace space travel and innovation with VR games at E3 2014

At this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) video game trade show in Los Angeles, a small pool of VR games held their own against a big slate of 3indie titles and triple-A blockbusters. This is the first year that Oculus VR, the poster boy for VR’s resurgence with its popular #OculusRift headset, had a presence on the expo floor, an elegant booth that was not too far from Oculus’s biggest competitor, Sony’s Project Morpheus. Neither company has set a release date for their devices (Samsung, the third challenger for the VR crown, is trying to beat them both to market).

Irrational Exuberance tackles space exploration a little differently, moving away from realism or even sci-fi in favor of something more ethereal. The designer, Ben Vance of Buffalo Vision Games, at an independent games event outside of E3, and he was a little hesitant to tell anyone about the game’s plot. Not wanting to spoil it, and even went as far as covering the outward-facing TV on his table so anyone passing by would not accidentally spoil themselves, either.

Irrational Exuberance’s tagline is “a surreal space odyssey at the end of the world,” and apparently, the end of the world has a lot of polygonal asteroids in it. Walking around on the asteroid, not sure what to do. The only pieces of the level we could interact with were these particles of light that would spiral into space and disappear when you looked at it. As far as we could tell, finding these bright clusters, jumping to asteroids below when the rock we were standing on did not have them anymore.

The big moment came after finding a pile of rectangular panels that, like the particles, disappeared when you get too close. Thinking that we must have missed something, we intentionally tried to kill the character by falling off the asteroid, but that did not go as planned — stopping mid-way through the fall. Looking down with the Rift, we realized that the panels were appearing beneath our feet. Looking back up and we saw a trail of them leading back to the asteroid we just fell from.

Somehow gained the power to glide through space, it felt like the Silver Surfer as the character zipped around asteroids and stars. It was thrilling. If we wanted to go somewhere, we just needed to look in a certain direction, and the white blocks would take me there.

That was a cool and unexpected twist, and immediately understood why Vance wanted to keep parts of the game a secret. He hopes Irrational Exuberance will continue to surprise players when he releases it for PC, Mac, and Linux.

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