Virtual Reality games are a blast, even on the more basic mobile VR models. However, gaming is just one of the many potential applications of the technology. This here is a list of the five best applications that use VR as a major component. Existing programs that use VR as a gimmick are disqualified for self-evident reasons. Furthermore, all of these applications are available to use in Singapore. Some, however, might require some extra work to acquire because of the challenge of getting a headset (looking at you Vive!). Some are free, some have a cost. All of the below are a lot of fun, or just simply mind-blowing.
1. Tilt Brush (HTV Vive)
The premise of Tilt Brush is nothing new: a digital canvas to paint on. Older readers might remember messing around in Microsoft paint. However, VR is used to amazing effect with this app. By allowing you to walk around the canvas at will, you can paint a beautiful 3D drawing. Furthermore, effects such as stars, light and more can be added to make a truly amazing piece of art. Or a really detailed rude picture, depending on what you like drawing. Pictionary can be taken to the next level with this app as well. Tilt Brush is S$29.99 on the Steam store, but remember that the HTC Vive is a significant cost extra.
2. Everest VR (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift)
Ignore the user reviews, this is the closest many will get to experiencing the climb to the highest summit on the planet. Why spend months training, thousands of dollars on equipment and risk cold, oxygen deprivation and a whole host of other terrible things (Watch the film Everest and you’ll get what I mean) when for S$25 you can experience the best parts? The experience is short, but the views are breathtaking. Turn your AC up to the max for the extra sensation. Again, keep in mind that you’ll need to splurge on a Vive and for a PC to handle the graphics.
3. The North Face: Climb (Google Cardboard, iOS, Oculus Rift)
Similar to Everest VR, this app follows two climbers who rock-climb and base jump throughout Yosemite and Utah. Swallow the gratuitous advertising and experience real thrill-seeking without the danger. Even better, this app is completely free on both the App Store and Google Play. However, there have been some users complaining that it is not working properly, so bear that in mind. Furthermore, Jaunt recommends the use of the latest smartphones with larger screen sizes. Maybe it is time for that upgrade? Jaunt also has their own VR app on both iOS and Android with various VR videos
4. Youtube (Google Cardboard, iOS)
Plain and simple, this is the YouTube experience in VR. This is not just a gimmick because the inclusion of 360-degree videos has led to some truly amazing videos in both wildlife and music. Add to this the ubiquity of the app (its free on pretty much every phone with an internet connection) and the nature of YouTube, this catalogue will only grow. Videos ranging from homemade vlogs to amazing films will be available in the distant future. Best of all, you don’t even need to place your phone in a headset. However, using the 360-degree video in your hand can be a cumbersome experience.
5. Expeditions (Google Cardboard)
Expeditions is an interesting program. Google has created this app for the purpose of school field trips to locations that would otherwise be too expensive or involve too much paperwork, or just straight up impossible. Teachers can take their kids to Mars, Antartica and anywhere else included within the app. This would, of course, require that all students have a smartphone, but that is not really a major concern in Singapore. iOS support is said to be coming sometime soon, so Apple users shouldn’t feel left out for much longer.