I, like a lot of Americans, have had a rough past couple of days. A bigoted, sexist, racist Orange Man with zero government experience somehow got elected to be the President of the United States. My local city and state have passed a slew of regressive, saddening propositions. And I’ve barely eaten in the past couple days, being riddled with anxiety and all. Instead I’ve been meditating, paranoid and scared, thinking about what happens next now that myself, my friends, and my family live in a country where half of its population would vote for a xenophobic candidate—a revelation that is at once surprising, and completely unsurprising. I may find solace in the fact that my fear is not alone. But I’m also white, straight, and cisgender, so I can rest assured that a lot of hate won’t be flung my way—but my friends and the vast majority of my family won’t be so lucky. I may live in fear for them, but they now live in fear for themselves.
I usually hate when I see people saying that things like videogames, books, movies, anime, or virtual reality are an “escape from reality.” But I think this week, even I’m thinking of entertainment that way. There’s so much hate and anger and sadness floating in the ether, that looking away for awhile might be for the best, even if for a moment. We’re long overdue for taking a break. To honor that sentiment, here’s a few relaxing things that can wrap around you like a hug. Because boy, we sure do need a hug right now.
Harmonix Music VR
Harmonix Music VR isn’t a game, it’s a music visualizer. Or rather, four visualizers in one package. There a number of different modes, but the most cathartic would be The Easel, for painting your way through frustration, or the more relaxing The Trip, where music twists around as a kaleidoscopic tunnel. For music to listen to within the space, lately I wholeheartedly recommend D.R.A.M.’s Big Baby D.R.A.M., Kero Kero Bonito’s Bonito Generation, Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition, Solange’s A Seat at the Table, and the Young Folks in Metropolis compilation. Happy listening.
The Pull, from QubaVR, predicts a world in which gravity is a choice, not something that just exists. There is no “down,” and objects fly wherever “down” is determined. The result is a calming movement of pastel-hued objects shifting in unrealistic directions. The Pull is a lushly magnetic, quick experience, but it’s worth experiencing on smartphones everywhere.
Samsung Gear VR
In Land’s End, you have the ability to awaken desolate architectural landscapes with a mere gaze. Developed by Ustwo Games, the creators of the mobile gem Monument Valley, the game has a pristine eye for design. Being on a Samsung Gear VR, Land’s End is designed to be hands-free. So kick back, look around, and soak in those gorgeous sunsets. I feel like we don’t get to see those too often.
Cosmic Wandering found its footing during the annual VR Jam 2016, back in April of this year. In the game, you wander around a psychedelic land, solving any slight puzzle that crosses your path. Solving puzzles not only aids you in progressing, but changes the world around you instrumentally, sculpting a captivating journey.
And that’s that. I hope everyone hugs their loved ones, reaches out to anyone who needs help, and enjoys something they love: games, movies, whatever.