You probably already read Part One of our favorite interactions of 2016 list. But in case you missed it, you can find it here.
Okay now that that’s settled, onto our grand finale:
In virtual and augmented reality, we’re told we can do anything. Climb a mountain (see: EVEREST VR). Destroy prized possessions as a cat (see: Catlateral Damage). Literally, quote-unquote, anything. Sometimes “anything” can be a magical transcendent experience (see: Rez Infinite), or it can be plain boring or trite. In other cases, “anything” can merely make you laugh or smile for a brief moment. And sometimes, just that is enough to restore your faith in the technology.
So here’s a list. A celebration of all our favorite weird interactions we’ve had this year in VR and AR. Whether they made us laugh or smile or were interesting in other ways, all you’ll find here proudly show what VR and AR can be used for beyond just empathy or shooting guns, and that’s pretty neat.
Turning junk food into instruments in Playthings: VR Music Vacation (Always & Forever Computer Entertainment)
Playing with your food has never been so fun. Playthings: VR Music Vacation plops you into a dreamland of candy and junk food, and you’re instantly ready to jam. Hamburgers, jelly beans, gummy bears, anything at your disposal is bound to make an enlightening tune—and with music and development by the electronic music duo George & Jonathan, there’s even more to swoon about.
The swipe that changed the world in Pokémon Go (Niantic)
It was the upwards swipe that changed the world… for three miraculous weeks. Or I guess longer, if you’re counting after those first few weeks, when street corners were plagued with gym battles and clotted with Pidgeys. For that hot second, Pokémon Go changed the way we see the world. People’s homes accidentally became places to linger. Stranger encounters became more friendly, and less awkward. And most of all, Pokémon became one with our world thanks to augmented reality. And with just the swipe of a Pokeball, our childhood friends are ours to claim.
Making some good good hot dogs in Skreleton’s Hotdog Kitchen (M Scott McBee)
Back when I first wrote about Skreleton’s Hotdog Kitchen, I told the horror story of being haunted on the internet by a hotdog toaster thanks to devious cookies. I never did end up getting that toaster, and now it’s a distant memory. What’s not a memory is the game itself. A game where you blend any old thing into a hotdog, and then launch it via crossbow into ominous faces in the distance. Skreleton’s Hotdog Kitchen may stand as a reminder of how internet browsing can haunt you forever in my case, but for others it will exist as the only VR game this year with a hot dog crossbow, and that’s pretty special.
Ricocheting bullets in Superhot VR (Superhot Team)
Okay, I know I said there were cooler things to do in VR than shoot guns, but Superhot is the exception. Because in Superhot VR, you can literally use your gun to clink against a bullet flying in your path. You’ll hear a satisfying clink as it ricochets off your gun, and it feels incredibly cool. Like you’re Neo in The Matrix or something, if instead of bending backwards to dodge those bullets he just had a million guns knock ‘em down.
Making bathrooms… cute??? in WOORLD (Funomena)
WOORLD is an exclusive AR sandbox game for the latest Lenovo phone with Google Tango functionality, so if you haven’t seen it in action—we don’t blame you. In the Keita Takahashi-designed app, the player eventually unlocks a sandbox at their disposal to unleash the creative animations of the Katamari Damacy designer’s imaginative animations. Using Google Tango, WOORLD fully scans your environment so the AR doesn’t just sit atop the real world, but registers where things are and acts accordingly. Household objects become integrated within WOORLD, like, for example, a toilet. A toilet isn’t just a toilet in WOORLD, it blossoms into a colorful garden. Playing with WOORLD is like peeking into the mind of a child: colorful, innocent, and most of all: goofy fun.
Missed Part One of our favorite interactions in VR, AR, and everything in between? You can read it here.