Friday, October 16, 2015

Q Attack, Round 22 - Is VR Here to Stay?
VR gaming seems to be all the rage these days with multiple companies producing their own headsets. Tiger and Rabbit share their thoughts on VR and examine what this could mean for the future of gaming. Is VR the next big thing in gaming or just another fad that will fade away?


Tiger: I think I’m ready to jump into this whole VR fad.

Rabbit: Wait, really?

Tiger: Yeah, there are some pretty interesting games and the tech has come a long way.

Rabbit: It’s still really pricey, which is a big drawback for me.

Tiger: There are so many options nowadays and some of them aren’t too expensive.

Rabbit: I know Valve is working with phone manufacturer HTC on Vive.

Tiger: Our phones are from HTC, I’ve always liked them but they’re pretty simple. I’m curious to see how this marriage will work out for Valve.

Rabbit: Supposedly, the Vive has some of the best graphics compared to the other competitors.

Tiger: We already know what Oculus Rift can do. The big question is the price tag.

Rabbit: With the controller attachment and the PC needed to run it, I bet it’s going to be pretty high. Still, they are the most experienced, so it may be worth the entry fee.

Tiger: Samsung’s Gear VR is also powered by Oculus and uses a smartphone, but it’s limited to Samsung phones at this time.

Rabbit: Carl Zeiss VR One uses the same concept but supports the iPhone 6 as well.

Tiger: I’m not a fan of mobile gaming so mobile VR is an even less appealing idea for me.

Rabbit: There’s Microsoft’s HoloLens which is more of an AR headset than a VR one.

Tiger: I’ll be interested to see what they can really achieve with it. It’s a cool idea but also limited I think, since developers won’t be able to port other VR games to it easily.

Rabbit: We also have FOVE Eye Tracking VR which is backed by Microsoft Ventures. This headset needs no controller and relies on the user’s eyes to track movement.

Tiger: My eyes hurt just thinking about playing a game that way.

Rabbit: How about Google’s Cardboard VR headset?

Tiger: Backhand to the face, anyone? There’s also Razer’s OSVR which is an open source system supported by Gearbox Software.

Rabbit: We seem to be missing one.

Tiger: And that is the one we’d most likely get if we get one, Project Morpheus, now known as PlayStation VR.

Rabbit: I really hate the idea of it being paired with the PS Camera and the Move controller.

Tiger: *shakes head* PS Move, that controller is a big waste of space.

Rabbit: Yet, we have four of them.

Tiger: To my defense, I got a second pair for cheap. Plus, you were the one that complained about not being able to play the multiplayer games with me.

Rabbit: I’m still not sure if I’m sold on VR, I can see the benefits for some types of games, but it feels a little gimmicky.

Tiger: Especially with some of the headsets. Like with Morpheus, did you see how they did multiplayer with some of the games?

Rabbit: Having one person use the headset and the rest using Move controllers with the PS Camera? Lame.

Tiger: I think the games I’m most interested in using VR with are the flight simulators, like piloting a mech or something.

Rabbit: You just want to make your childhood dream of piloting a Gundam come true.

Tiger: You know that game will happen, it just has to.

Rabbit: FPS games could be interesting with VR and I like the concepts behind a few of the horror demos too. I just don’t see VR having a huge impact on gaming in general. The price point is going to be steep for a lot of people. You already need to have a console or PC that can run the games, now you need to get a VR headset and maybe even a new controller! Gaming is already an expensive hobby, adding all the extra peripherals has made this a working mammal’s hobby.

Tiger: Well, we’ve only experienced the Oculus Rift so it’s kind of hard to say how VR may change video games, but there were some notable things to mention with our experience. One was depth perception; I was super impressed with how everything made sense visually. The demo was placed inside a room that was connected to a long hallway. It sounds weird, but I actually felt like I was as tall as I am in real life.

Rabbit: I totally get where you are coming from. In a lot of FPS games, I feel exceedingly tall, it’s a strange feeling. That Rift demo made it feel like I really was in the game because the placement of the walls felt normal. It didn’t feel like I had Mr. Fantastic arms or I was a giant.

Tiger: It seems like such a little concept but I figured it would be really hard to get that to feel accurate, so I was really impressed with Oculus Rift regarding that.

Rabbit: I also liked how it fit. We both wear glasses and have major issues with 3D TVs, so I was worried that it wouldn’t function well for us. Not only was the headset really comfortable to wear, the VR effect was not distorted by my glasses. The headset was a little heavy after you added the headphones, but overall, it was a comfortable design.

Tiger: While the game we played wasn’t very graphically detailed, the visuals still looked amazing. That screen was really high quality. I can see a lot of potential in VR. Could you imagine playing Fallout or Skyrim?

Rabbit: I want a VR Hakuouki game so I can see Saitou in all his high definition glory.

Tiger: Do you think we’d get motion sick playing an FPS game?

Rabbit: All the action could get a little hectic, maybe a game like the Vanishing of Ethan Carter or Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture would be a better fit.

Tiger: I’d really like to play Firewatch on a VR headset. The game’s artistic graphics would be amazing that way.
Rabbit: So what say you, oh illustrious Tiger. Is VR going to be commonplace for gamers?

Tiger: I think it has the potential to be. We haven’t seen technology in gaming that could really change the way we play since motion control. Granted, I wasn’t a fan of motion control but you cannot deny the success Nintendo had with the Wii. With 3D TVs, they weren’t necessary to experience certain games but a nice add-on feature. I think that was one of the main issues why it never truly saturated the video game market. With VR, if they can get the right games for it, I think they have the opportunity to really penetrate the market and carve out a niche for themselves. The software is going to be a key factor with how quickly and expansive gamers will adopt this new way to play. We already mentioned pricing as being a factor but I think something as simple as how quickly it is to put on and play will also affect whether gamers adopt VR fully. That was the one thing I hated most about the Move, I had to recalibrate it every freaking time I wanted to play a game. Adding five extra minutes to the boot up of a game doesn’t sound like much, but when you can just hit start and be playing within 20 seconds on other games, you start to notice the difference. I don’t want to feel like I’m putting on firefighting gear every time I want to play a VR game.

Rabbit: What kind of game would prod you to buy a VR headset?

Tiger: An actual game and not a tech demo. Many of the Move’s early games felt like glorified tech demos. I want an AAA game, built from the ground up for VR. Like with the Move, even games that came out later in its life cycle felt like the motion controlled gameplay was tacked on. I think with the right price and game, VR could become a staple for the hardcore and maybe even casual gamer. After all, casual gamers seem to adopt new tech like motion control pretty quickly. Who knows, get the right kind of commercial and holiday buzz, and we may see VR dominate sales.

Rabbit: I don’t think VR is going to revolutionize video games. Sure, it’s a great concept and will definitely be fun to play but I think there are too many barriers to overcome. One is definitely the entry fee. Consoles are already super expensive and so are games. Now you’re adding another peripheral that you won’t be using with every game, that could cost hundreds more. I do agree with you about the software side of the discussion needs to be strong. A killer app is a must but I’m not sure that will do it for most gamers. Harking back to the Move, we adopted pretty early but still have less than a dozen games that utilize the controller. I can’t imagine paying three to four hundred dollars for a headset that we may play for a few hours here and there. And while there were games I liked for the Move, it never replaced my Dualshock and I don’t think VR can do that either. Yes, I know you use a controller with it too but what I’m saying is, I don’t think VR can force me away from traditional gaming for an extended amount of time. Speaking of extended play sessions-

Tiger: You going to rant how you may accidentally walk into a wall while wearing a headset?

Rabbit: Chigau! I’m gonna go all scientific on you now. I think motion sickness and fatigue are going to be huge problems and difficult to overcome. Time to use my handy-dandy education in neuroscience! The fundamental problem with VR is this little problem called vergence-accommodation conflict. Your eyes do a couple of things when you look at something. First, your eyeballs move to ogle an object. If it’s close, they naturally converge on it but if it’s far away, they diverge. When your eyes don’t line up properly, that’s when you see double of what you’re looking at. The next thing that happens is your lenses focus on the object, or accommodate. This works perfectly well when looking at reality but with VR, all bets are off. VR creates 3D images by showing offset images to the left and right eye. The more offset, the closer an object appears. While your eyes are still accommodating, they're converging to the image in the distance. What does this mean, Professor Rabbit? This means that your eyes are overworking which causes fatigue, discomfort, and what has become known as virtual reality sickness. There also isn’t a great solution yet as many have suggested basing tech on light fields but none have done so.

Tiger: I’m really surprised that you remembered that from school, I thought you just slept through all of our classes.

Rabbit: ^sticks out tongue^ Anyway, while I think there will be those gamers who will adopt the new tech, there’s no way that VR will become mainstream and replace gaming as we know it. At least not in the state it’s in now, maybe in a decade when the tech is better, but not right now and not for the next few years.

Tiger: I don’t think it will take ten years for VR to saturate the market, not at all. Just make a great game that has you piloting a Gundam and you will own the video game industry!

Is VR Here to Stay?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 28 O’Clock - Tech Talk!
While discussing virtual reality headsets in the previous Q Attack, Tiger and Rabbit take time to reflect on other gaming technologies in this edition of Random Happy Time! From the PocketStation to crazy controllers and everything in between, these fuzzy friends share some of their most memorable tech.


Tiger: We’ve adopted a bunch of different video game related peripherals.

Rabbit: We’ve already talked about the PS Move and PS Camera; we also got the EyeToy when it first came out.

Tiger: I actually used the EyeToy quite a lot since I played Eye of Judgment often.

Rabbit: I used to play EyeToy: AntiGrav. It was a terrible game even when you could get it to work.

Tiger: Remember those screensaver esque PSN games that utilized the EyeToy?

Rabbit: (*^▽^)/ You could do things like paint the screen with your hand or move blocks and what not.

Tiger: We would turn that on when we hosted parties, just so people could mess around with it.

Rabbit: We also had an EyePet.

Tiger: Do you remember Tamagotchi?

Rabbit: I loved mine!

Tiger: We actually had some knock off version that featured an alien, but it was okay.

Rabbit: You always let yours starve. I had my pet alien alive for so long and then I went to a birthday party and asked you to take care of it. Do you know what you did?!

Tiger: ╮(─▽─)╭ I forgot about it and let it starve.

Rabbit: My poor friend starved to death. 。:゜(;´∩`;)゜:。

Tiger: Speaking of Tamagotchi, I always wanted to pick up a PocketStation but we never did import one.

Rabbit: We weren’t big spenders let alone importers back in the PlayStation era. It still would have been pretty cool to get.

Tiger: There was also the PSX.

Rabbit: Oh man, was that thing expensive.

Tiger: ヘ(゜Д、゜)ノ We’ve also picked up some crazy controllers, like some weird off-brand one that split in two.

Rabbit: Do you remember the GameShark?

Tiger: Now that brings back memories. I think the most used video game peripherals we’ve owned are the guitar controllers.

Rabbit: We’ve had so many of those that we actually bought guitar stands for them. (。-_-。)

Tiger: Oh, remember having the multitap for our Tekken Tag Tournament parties?

Rabbit: (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ Now those were the good ‘ole days.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Q Attack, Round 21 - Are we Oversaturated with Superhero Movies?
Tiger and Rabbit don’t go to the movies but that doesn’t mean they don’t love their films. Superhero flicks are always a popular choice but are we oversaturated with them? Tiger and Rabbit discuss past, present, and future superhero films as they examine this growing movie genre.


Tiger: Are you ready yet, Rabbit?

Rabbit: Just hold onto your nose, I’m almost done.

Tiger: What’s taking you so long?

Rabbit: Patience, young Padawan.


Tiger: What was that?

Rabbit: The microwave, popcorn is done! Let’s start the movie!

Tiger: *shakes head* Rabbit, we’re going to talk about movies not watch one.

Rabbit: What? We’re not going to watch Daredevil?

Tiger: *smacks Rabbit on the head* Why would you even bring up that terrible movie?!

Rabbit: Itaiii! ^rubs head^ That hurt. It was better than the Catwoman movie at least.

Tiger: Ah geez, that was really bad too.

Rabbit: Or the Green Lantern.

Tiger: Okay, please just stop. We’re here to talk about superhero movies and whether or not we’ve been oversaturated with them, or at least will be soon.

Rabbit: Yeah, no kidding. I saw the list of the Marvel movies alone, ka-ray-zee!

Tiger: It seems to me that Marvel really changed the landscape of superhero films. The Nolan Batman trilogy and the first two Spider-Man movies also had a big impact. Before them, most of the movies seemed mediocre at best.

Rabbit: I liked the Fantastic Four movies and the Blade series.

Tiger: The Punisher movie was pretty bad.

Rabbit: We should probably note that we aren’t really comic book readers.

Tiger: Yes, we’ve only read a hundred or so different series over the years.

Rabbit: Like Atomic Robo!

Tiger: That was a funny series. I always wanted to get into comics but when I start reading them, I’m reminded at how poorly written they are.

Rabbit: Or how they create so much drama and kill people off just to have it all be a dream or something like that. I do like the movies though. Avengers was probably my favorite one out of the more recent movies.

Tiger: Captain America baby. I love Cap, always have, and the Winter Soldier was an awesome flick. It had some great action but also a really good plot. I also liked the Edward Norton Incredible Hulk movie, that one was decent. I thought Thor was really going to suck but that one was fun too.

Rabbit: Yeah, not much substance but definitely a fun movie. We should probably also mention that we don’t go to the movies very often. What was the last movie we saw in a theater?

Tiger: Pirates of the Caribbean 2 I believe.

Rabbit: ^embarrassed look^ So yeah, it’s been a while.

Tiger: We just aren’t the movie seeing kind.

Rabbit: Plus, we aren’t always welcome.

Tiger: Well, most theaters do have a policy about bringing animals into an establishment unless they are service animals.

Rabbit: See! I told you we should have become seeing-eye animals!

Tiger: I don’t think that would’ve helped us.

Rabbit: I guess not. ^pouts^

Tiger: You just want a vest, don’t you?

Rabbit: They’re cool.

Tiger: *shakes head*

Rabbit: Spoilsport. Anyway, I’m looking at some of the movies that have been announced and I can definitely say I’m excited to see what the rebooted Fantastic Four will be like.

Tiger: I’m more excited for the superheroes we haven’t seen yet like Dr. Strange and Deadpool. I’m not a big DC fan but I’ve always loved the idea of Batman going against Superman. Wonder Woman could also be really cool.

Rabbit: I think Captain Marvel and the Black Panther were great choices too. But I question if they aren’t overdoing it with another Wolverine movie.

Tiger: I’m bummed about how the Amazing Spider-Man movies have turned out so far. I’m not hopeful that the reboot will be better-

Rabbit: You mean a re-reboot?

Tiger: Plus, it's great for fans that Sony and Marvel were able to work out an agreement so Spidey can be with the Avengers.

Rabbit: As for the Avengers, I liked how fun the first one was. Age of Ultron seems a lot darker, that’s cool, but I hope it still feels like an Avengers movie. There are just too many movies to talk about. I can’t believe that they have movies announced until 2020.

Tiger: Speaking of those, the Green Lantern movie should be amazing compared to the first one. I mean, you can’t get any worse than that one, can you?

Rabbit: I doubt it. It’s definitely hard to get excited when so many movies are announced in advanced. It reminds me of E3, you see a trailer, get all hyped up, but then it says coming out six years from today.

Tiger: It is ridiculous how far in advance things get announced nowadays. According to the internet, there are roughly 38 titles announced for 2015 and beyond.

Rabbit: Man, you think they were going overboard with all these superhero movies. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy them but you know what you’re getting before you even see the film. They all tend to follow the whole “beat the bad guy, save the world, all done with perfect hair” plot-line so they’re pretty predictable.
Tiger: So are you saying we’re oversaturated with superhero movies?

Rabbit: If we haven’t been yet, we will be. Those darned movies just keep coming and coming and coming. I get that it was cool to see the likes of Batman and Iron Man on the big screen, but now they’ve run their course. It’s time to move onto something new rather than rebooting the same old characters over and over again. How many times do I need to see a new Batman anyway? I get the Tim Burton movies weren’t the greatest so it’s understandable that fans wanted a better version. We got it with the Nolan movies and Bale but now we’re getting another Batman! When is enough, enough? Now lesser known superheroes are getting movies. I know people who love the Inhumans but your average moviegoer isn’t going to know them from the Justice League. I think it’s time to move on rather than resurrecting the same characters over and over again or making films about characters no one knows about.

Tiger: I’m actually excited about some of the new superheroes they’re choosing to make movies of. The Sinister Six sounds like it could be awesome and I think the Inhumans is a great choice for a movie. Superhero movies can be more than just loud explosions and great fight scenes; we saw that with the Winter Soldier. I don’t expect a superhero movie to win any top awards but they’ve definitely come a long way from the early days. Nolan’s Batman movies were terrific and they had a lot of substance to them. I do agree with you about the reboots, I get it if the first one was terrible to sort of start again with the second, but I hate seeing the same things over and over again. That’s why I hope the movies like Captain Marvel or Black Panther do well because we haven’t seen them before. As long as we keep getting quality superhero movies, I don’t think we can ever have enough of them.

Are we Oversaturated with Superhero Movies?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 27 O'Clock - Favorite Movie Food!
Even though they don’t go to the theater, that doesn’t mean Tiger and Rabbit don’t know their snack foods. The pair of fuzzy animals discuss their favorite movie foods, from the classic popcorn to the trendy sour Brite Crawlers.


Rabbit: So I know it’s been a long time since we went to the theater but I wanted to talk about some of our favorite movie food.

Tiger: Food again? ┗(•̀へ •́ ╮ )

Rabbit: What? I like talking about food. It’s fun. ヾ(。・ω・)シ I love visualizing it and trying to remember what it smells like. It’s good practice at how well you can creatively construct images in your mind.

Tiger: You see this only works because you talk about the food so much; I end up going out and buying it for you so you’ll shut up.

Rabbit: It’s a great exercise in mind control. ^wiggles fingers at Tiger^

Tiger: *shakes head* I only have two staples of snack food when it comes to movies, popcorn and gummy bears. But not just any gummy bears, it has to be Haribo bears.

Rabbit: They used to have Care Bear branded gummy bears at our old theater back home. I remember that the box looked super big but when you opened it, the plastic bag full of bears only filled half of the box. Such a rip off.

Tiger: That’s why I liked bringing in my own candy.

Rabbit: That’s against the rules though!

Tiger: It saves my wallet some hurting though.

Rabbit: Well I always enjoyed getting sour gummy worms and soft pretzels. Ooh, and a hot dog with nachos. ╰(✧∇✧╰)

Tiger: For you, it was more like going to dinner and getting a movie as a bonus.

Rabbit: Now, we just crash on the floor and watch a movie at home.

Tiger: It’s a lot cheaper, that’s for sure.

Rabbit: It is, but alas, I don’t get those awesome nachos anymore.

Tiger: Your heart thanks you for it too.

Rabbit: (★^O^★) Well, that’s all the time we have folks. I think I’m gonna make me another bag of popcorn!