The Future is Now

Early Tuesday morning blog, becasue I was sick again yesterday.  I swear, sometimes it feels never-ending.  Fortunately, I have an appointment with my surgeon coming up, which will hopefully provide some answers.  In the meantime, let’s talk about anything else.

Once, my dad told me a little story.  He said that when they were building the nearby onramp to the thruway here in South Buffalo, he would imagine it as a sort of rocket shoot for the make-believe flying car that he dreamt of as a child.  My father has long held onto this flying car dream, fully believing he should have received such technology by now as this is, after all, “the future.”

I have written before about when I first played Pong on my dad’s television set in his bedroom when I was four.  It was life-changing, sparking my love of the video game in all its manifestations. I mean, I have a favorite game on nearly ever console, and dozens of computer games I still adore.  For me, video games were a sign that the future was progressing.  One thing that always intrigued me, however, was virtual reality.  Ever since I saw my first hologram back in kindergarten and thought “wow, that’s neat,” the things we can do with technology and vision have always amazed me.  I remember watching videos of the “virtual reality” headsets from the 90s’ and such…they weren’t what I thought they would be.  Which is probably why they pretty much failed.

But this weekend, L brought over his VR headset for the PlayStation. 

Mark put it on, and I could see what he saw on the screen, but it just looked like another video game to me.  He was absolutely giddy as he played, pointing out all the little details he saw.  Again…it was just broadcast on the screen for us, so it wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, I guess.  At least, that’s what I thought at first, until L convinced me to give it a try.

I wanted to, but I was nervous because I know it can cause motion sickness, which I am prone to.  Still, I put on the headset and L put the controllers in my hands and showed me what buttons to push.  At first, on the loading screen, it just looked like a tv screen that only I could see.  Then, the game loaded.

It was The Walking Dead, which I know little about, like he fact that there’s zombies.  But it didn’t matter.  It didn’t matter what game it was, because all of a sudden, I was IN THE GAME.

I looked down, and I had boots on.  My hands were not my own, and held a baseball bat.  I was wearing someone else’s clothing.

I looked up.  Blue sky and birds and sunlight and it was so realistic I would have sworn I was outside, not standing in the middle of my living room.  I looked around.  I could see individual blades of grass. I could see fireflies.  I could see stones and dirt on the ground.  I spun in a circle, tying myself up in the cord, but trying to get a full 360 view.  And I did, and it was glorious.

I played a little…did a target practice, walked around.  I was less interested in learning the game right then than I was at marveling at the details around me.  I truly saw nothing that wasn’t in the game…there was no glitch, no blank space, nothing.  It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.

That might seem silly, but up until now the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen was the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile up close…now that’s silly.  (I suppose my goddaughters’ birth should be up on that list, too…sorry, D.)

I finished playing and was grateful I had no motion sickness, and then Mark and I immediately changed our plans from saving for a PS5 to saving for VR. 

You know what I want more than anything, though?  Not even to play it again, but to have my dad play it.  To have him put on that headset and look around and think “Holy crap!” just like I did.  We may not have flying cars yet, but we do have some kick-ass tech that would knock his socks off.  So, while we wait for an auto that can soar though the air, why not play some video games?

Great days in Mark’s life: birth of children, wedding day, this.

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