At this year’s Game Developers Conference, I ventured into the abyss of San Francisco’s most tourist-prone district to demo the psychedelic VR experience SoundSelf. Designed by Robin Arnott, SoundSelf is ideally a meditative venture. But for me, it was quite the opposite. SoundSelf may be in VR, but it’s meant to be experienced while laying down with hardly any movement, guiding yourself through the experience using only your voice. The game’s power doesn’t come from looking all around you—it comes from enveloping you in its world. The newly formed duo Polysoul’s first VR project, ooooo, reaches for that same goal: to enwrap you in a new environment, all from the comfort of a prone position.
In a brief site description, ooooo is detailed as “an ascension through interdimensional spaces.” Every “travel,” or separate experience embarked on through the app, will be a fresh adventure. Essentially, every time you pick up the app, a new relaxing journey awaits to drift you through low-poly, dream-like bliss. It’s unknown if you will have any choice in the matter, or if the game leaves the decision up to chance. Will you be in space, or somewhere that hardly resembles an intergalactic universe at all?
Enwraps you in a new world, all from the comfort of a prone position
Polysoul consists of two Berlin-based creators: Jan Stroetmann, a multimedia artist, and Tom ‘Silkersoft’ Schley, a music producer who has worked with the studio Crows Crows Crows, most recently on their chaotic Justin Roiland collaboration Accounting. Together with Polysoul, Stroetmann and Schley are combining their innovative design ideas and effervescent sensibilities to create wholly experimental games. The first of which, of course, just so happens to land in the VR realm.
On a personal end, I feel like I gravitate more to experimental VR game. Be they passive like ooooo or SoundSelf, non-passive like nearly any other game, or just doing something apart from the mold of what VR “should” be. VR’s monotonous right now, but with creators like those of Polysoul and Arnott, creating hyperactive games for VR doesn’t need to be the norm. Because sometimes, the mold has to be broken.
ooooo is coming soon for the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream.