Let’s get straight into it … PAX AUS 2015 kicked off officially this morning at 9am at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. The Novastream crew were lucky enough to start proceedings with a hands-on experience with the new Playstation VR hardware. This was my first time strapping on the new technology and I have to say it surpassed my lofty expectations. If you have had a chance to test out the technology first hand, I’m sure the following will resonate with you, but for those individuals yet to have a play and wondering whether VR is going to be a ‘real’ thing or not … take note. It is.
I was given some quick instructions from one of the friendly Sony support people, prior to the visor being lowered over my head. I played a game called The Heist which is best described as a gritty British crime-shooter. The demo started with me (the character) being interrogated by a burly gangster, before ending with an intense shootout, where I had to open drawers, to find clips for my handgun. It was at that point of the demo that I really understood what VR was capable of … there I was, squatting on the ground, hiding behind the cover of an office desk as enemies swarmed in around me. VR demands 100% commitment, it requires you to crouch, turn and use both hands. I can honestly say I’ve never been so drawn into a game before in my life.
While virtual-bullets rained down on me from the mezzanine floor above, my fellow Novastream comrade Josh Saunders was having his own incredible experience – being lowered into the depths of the ocean in a cage, admiring the sea life, before a huge shark pummeled into the bars, seemingly inches from his face. Two people strapped themselves in with the Playstation VR, but we both had very different experiences. Mine demanded a physicality I hadn’t expected and his transported him to a terrifying environment where his characters heavy breathing and pounding heartbeat influenced his own. In short, Virtual Reality gave us a feeling of childlike wonder and we all agreed that irrespective of the price, Sony will be receiving a ton of our cash when they finally do drop the tech.
After we had finished gushing about how amazing the VR experience was we made our way over to the Indie area of the expo hall and spent some time familiarising ourselves with some incredible games and meeting some truly talented developers. It’s always an experience hearing first hand, how much effort has gone into developing the game you’re playing. Most of the titles on display are the products of years of work. Hearing the developers passion for their project is incredible and I have to say it’s given me a newfound appreciation for Indie games and I’ll be sure to invest more time and money into them in the future.
A standout Indie game for me was Hollow Knight, a 2D platformer with an eerie and sometimes unnerving atmosphere. The animation design is very Tim Burton-esque (which I thoroughly dig).
For more content from our first day at PAX be sure to check out Novastream’s Youtube channel!