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Everest VR demo triggered my fear of heights and nearly brought me to my knees

Brad Chacos | Jan. 8, 2016
The Everest VR demo on the HTC Vive Pre got my monkey brain screaming in terror.

This is what virtual reality is capable of under ideal circumstances, with headphones and motion controllers and a large, empty room to wander around: of fooling your monkey brain. Of truly transporting you to places you’d otherwise never visit—at least if your PC is up to the task.

Until my body refused to move while trying to scale Mount Everest, I never understood how vital proper made-for-VR controls could be to the virtual reality experience. I mean, I’ve played tons of Oculus games and demos on an Xbox 360 controller and found myself immersed just fine. But motion controls and freedom of physical movement push it over the top. It’s a damn shame most people don’t have a 15-by-15-foot room to dedicate to a full VR setup like the Vive.

Oh, and before I left, the Nvidia guys manning the demo told me that four people refused to cross that ladder at all. So even though I was still shaky and sweaty while trying to shoot the video above, I didn’t feel that foolish.


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