There’s the aptly named Guided Meditation VR, a classic way to get into your daily practice. It helps to have pleasant scenes to walk through with my eyes open, while still sitting quietly and focusing on my breathing.
If I’m feeling particularly restless while still craving mindfulness, I’ll switch to the basic settings of my SteamVR Index. My default “house”, called the Summit Pavilion, is the modern house mentioned above in the mountains. I can walk around, interact with butterflies or just drag my gaze into the distance.
For days I feel adventurous, I will choose more recognizable places to meditate, like Dr Who’s TARDIS, Rick and Morty’s garage or Dunder Mifflin’s office. Being able to virtually travel to places that are personally fun for me, with such fully realized backgrounds, transformed my experience of meditation from resistance to pleasure.
It’s no shock that home controls can leave you feeling, well, stuck at home. Two of my treasured hobbies are traveling and hiking. Virtual reality has an answer for this as well.
A quick search in the Steam store led me to find some awesome e-cards from faraway places. I could hang out Castlerock Beach in Australia, roam the misty terrain of Iceland, even discover the art of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Japan. These downloads are bulky, giving me plenty of room to teleport or use free locomotion while I explored, stifling my desires for real travel at a time when that’s not an option.
Instead of traveling this last holiday season, I found solace in trips to the past. With Google’s VR version of Google EarthI practically returned to my hometown, roaming the streets and places of my childhood. It’s great for any past trip – “flying” around Six Flags, the Grand Canyon or Disneyland – mentally reliving the memories as I went from aerial views to street views and back again. Just being able to see these places in VR helped me cope with the nostalgia and the desire to go somewhere. All without ever having to leave my chair.
Staying on top of socialization during a pandemic has more than ever forced people to turn to their devices for human connection. But FaceTime and Zoom keep my loved ones in crepe mode, trapped inside my screens. I had tried VRChat, but I felt overwhelmed by the personalization.
From where Recording room, a multiplatform remedy for my needs. I entered the playroom after a friend insisted it was the best thing ever. “Come fight Jumbotron with me,” he said, but I was too nervous about joining a new online bubble to try it out.
Until I finally did, mostly out of sheer curiosity. And here’s the thing – it’s fun.
“Rec Room is where people go after school, after work, to hang out with friends,” says Nick Fajt, CEO of Rec Room. “It’s not just a game. It’s a destination, like a park, a restaurant or a stadium. ”
I immediately fell in love with the basic androgynous human oval shapes. Customizable only for clothing, hair and facial features, the minimalist design allows more of the person behind it to shine. I recognize the subtle movements of the head and arms of my individual friends, which makes it seem like we’re really in the same room together.
Plus, there is always something to do when you go out. There is bowling and darts for quieter evenings or active adventures like Gold Trophy Quest and the Ascension of Jumbotron, which puts our group on a quest of nine chapters, with rewards.
“We see Rec Room as a place where people can meet new people, hang out with old friends, or do both in the same session,” says Fajt. In practice, the social distance gap seems a little more closed.