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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SUPERHYPERCUBE might become the first VR classic

SUPERHYPERCUBE might become the first VR classic

I can feel my phone buzzing repeatedly—I’m supposed to call my mom or something—but I’m ignoring it for now. I’m playing a game in Playstation VR, after all. My partner’s high score is nearly seven times what mine currently is, and I can’t handle that. He bragged about sitting in the top 50 ranking in the world right now (he is). I was sad that I’m very much not in the top 50 ranking in the world (I’m still not). So I thought: I’ll show him. By the end of this weekend, I’ll topple him. I’ll be the best cube-cluster flipper in virtual reality. But if only that was so easy in practice.

I’m really good at neglecting to use the two special abilities entirely.

SUPERHYPERCUBE situates you inside a neon-saturated world, one inspired by the Southern Californian art movement “Light and Space.” Blocks are at your disposal to spin, flip, and zoom-drop into a cluster-shaped hole in the distance; the player just has to peek around the corners from their far away spot to make sure it fits. It’s purely intuitive at its best (utilizing VR head-tracking with ease), and slightly disorienting at its worst (a rare occurrence—but it happened when the tracking of my mostly-out-of-sight controller would get wacky). With each success, cubes are dropped on top of your already existing cluster. With one failure, some break off. A second failure, and it’s game over.

An otherwise simple puzzle game that actually needs VR to be effective

When I first wrote about SUPERHYPERCUBE nearly one year ago, I was bustling with positivity. I called it “fucked-up VR Tetris.” Yet now that I’ve found myself dedicating accidental hours to the game—trying to overcome my partner’s absurdly high score, of course—I almost feel like that comparison is inept. A disservice to something that is really nothing like Tetris at all, aside from its blocky shapes. SUPERHYPERCUBE is not fucked-up Tetris. It’s its own fucked-up VR puzzle game. And it’s easily the best VR-centric game out there.

My first experience in VR was with SUPERHYPERCUBE, so it’s fitting that it’s my last experience too. See ya, virtual reality!

Not that it has much competition. As VR is starting to come into its own, and with the recent commercial release of PSVR, most games emerging now are borderline gimmicky. They’re flashy, showy, and none of them feel worthwhile. Most VR games of today just want to wow you for the moment—but not entertain you in the long run. The developers at KOKOROMI don’t want to wow the player though, at least not in the “look how immersive I am” sense. The game just wants to show you another perspective. Another way of approaching an otherwise simple puzzle game that needs VR to be effective, pushing back against the bombastic, typical VR game.

After another late-in-level two failure, I turn off my headset, figuring I should finally text my mom back. “Sorry, I was in VR,” I tell her, forgetting to explain what that means. (She still hasn’t responded at the time of my writing this. Is she in VR?) I look at the clock, and realize I had accidentally spent two hours in SUPERHYPERCUBE’s vibrant, Blade Runner-esque luminosity. Two whole hours just passed me by, and surprisingly, I don’t feel a tinge of regret. While I didn’t conquer my boyfriend’s score today, I know that one day I will. I’m determined. And I’m prepared to flip more goddamn cubes to get there—no matter how many impossible clusters obscure my vision.

SUPERHYPERCUBE is available now for Playstation 4 for $29.99. Playstation VR is required.

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