Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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Say goodbye to your kids: Minecraft has come to the Oculus Rift

Say goodbye to your kids: Minecraft has come to the Oculus Rift

I think I missed the boat on Minecraft (2009). When it initially came out I shrugged at its existence. It seemed like a game that didn’t appeal to me, having an admiration for concrete structure in my games and all. But for kids today, like my adorable younger cousins, Minecraft is a dream come true. In a way, it’s their Super Mario Bros. (1985). But instead of an endearing, timeless platformer, it’s a sandbox with endless possibilities. I never really “got it” until my cousin showed off a fortress he built to me. His eyes glistened with excitement and pride, he was so proud of this ugly looking thing he built in that blocky world, and I finally understood. Minecraft enlightens the imagination; the imagination that I probably lost a long time ago (being an adult sucks that away from you).

If anything was missing from Minecraft, it’s a tangible sense of scale

Now, Minecraft embarks on a quest to a new platform. Minecraft is, at last, available on yet another VR platform. (The Oculus Rift, to be exact.) For a game whose primary purpose is building things—and creating things being probably the most satisfying component of VR games so far—this shift makes complete sense. If there was anything missing from Minecraft in the past, it was perhaps a tangible sense of scale. Now people, both old and young, can drop blocks wherever they wish, and physically witness all the massive towers they craft.

The Windows 10 Edition of Minecraft is a bit different than its Samsung Gear VR version. Being for the Oculus Rift, it’s visually a more vast experience than what the player experiences on the smaller Gear VR. The player also has more physical movement (such as leaning) in the Minecraft world than the mere head movements in its mobile edition. The other changes to Minecraft are mostly minor, like accessibility, crisper visuals, and a “living room” replicant feature (to give the illusion of the “classic” Minecraft experience, also present in its Gear VR inception).

Yes, finally! Inventory management in the Rift.
Yes, finally! Inventory management in the Rift.

Though I may not personally enjoy Minecraft, I’ll always admire and respect it from afar. I know why people love it—and that’s great for them. Plus, it’s inspired leagues of other Minecraft-like games in its path. If I’m ever rich enough to own a hefty VR platform for my apartment, maybe I can invite my cousins over, and together we can journey through their favorite game in VR. I’ll marvel at all the creativity of theirs that comes to life in the virtual space. Maybe they’ll freak out about the size of their creations, and the fact that they can walk around it. And who knows, maybe I’ll even feel the appeal of it all myself.

As the bilingual pop group Kero Kero Bonito might sing, build it up (…in VR). You can download the Windows 10 Edition of Minecraft, complete with the VR beta, now.

Versions is brought to you by Nod Labs,
Precision wireless controllers for your virtual, augmented and actual reality.
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