VR Intensity: Comfortable
VR Risk: Safe
You've just maxed out your credit card to get an Oculus Rift and maybe the Touch to go with it. Now what are you going to do with all that hardware? You probably aren’t in the mood to shell out even more money for some top-end games. But fortunately Oculus offers a couple dozen free or almost free demos and games to ease you into your new toy. Enough to get you through to your next paycheck.
This comes with the Rift and launches immediately after you set up the hardware. As with most of these demos, there is no interaction. You just stand or sit there and Dreamdeck cycles through about a dozen different environments from low-res cartoons to high-def cities. Just look around you and enjoy being in the center of the action. This is a great demo to use when showing off your gear to a friend.
Introduction to Virtual Reality
Similar to Dreamdeck, but uses a 360-degree movie camera to get you in the middle of people and animals. No movement or interaction.
Oculus 360 Photos
This is a utility to display 360-degree panoramic photos. There is no movement or interaction. There are categories for nature, architecture, art, space and so on.
Take a Disneyland style ride through surreal environments.
Dream No. 1
Take a Disneyland-style ride through a dollhouse village with your dancing gypsy girlfriend.
A music video where you stand still and a bunch of surreal cubism marches past you.
A music video of a mini-opera. The music is fantastic, a sort of Carmen meets Bolero salsa. There are live actors and the background is dramatic CGI. This is a music video for adults.
A short fantasy story about a giant ice creature. There is some interaction, but it is more like a walking simulator.
The Forgotten Chamber
Almost a game. You explore the tomb of an ancient Chinese Emperor which has been sought for centuries. Your only interaction is to jump to the next position. You cannot go back. So it is more like a walking simulator, but it will give you an idea of what it would be like to play a real game in VR.
A short animated film about a lonely hedgehog who likes to hug people. There is no interaction, but you can move around and experience the story from different angles. This film won an Emmy. Read JA's review here.
A short film. The aliens are invading earth. They will destroy anything that opposes them. The only thing standing in their way are two cute little bunny wabbits. Be sure to look down to see your bunny body.
A short film -- free for a limited time. You sit quietly in the woods at night when the stillness is broken by a robot the size of a shed that thinks it’s a puppy dog. It would almost be cute if it weren’t so large. And then the owner shows up...
This game came for free with my Rift. It is a platformer similar to Super Mario Bros. where you control a cute little fox who must jump around to collect coins. You have no control over your own movement as your position automatically adjusts to keep up with the fox. But the movement is gentle and I found this a good way to get used to VR motion.
A sci-fi game where you visit an alien planet and investigate the life forms there. Definitely written for children. Warning! The cuteness level is so sweet that it might induce diabetes.
These games require the Oculus Touch
Like Dreamdeck, this introduces you to the capabilities of the Oculus Touch and automatically launches after you set up the hardware. Learn how to grab, toss, pull, point and so on.
Use VR to sculpt your artistic creations.
Use VR to paint/illustrate.
A collection of simple toys to play with. A friend can join you and you can toss a ball back and forth or knock down the stack of blocks he/she built. Good multi-player demo.
Dead and Buried
An FPS zombie apocalypse in the wild west.
Use hand motions to cast spells in this wizard battle.
None of these titles is large or captivating, but neither are any of them losers. They are all good examples of what the technology can do. And they are free.
+ They are all free or less than a buck