Just how far can a ‘Game Over’ go?
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A virtual reality headset which kills the player if their character dies in the game. In a nutshell, there you have the insane idea developed by Palmer Luckey, the founder and creator of Oculus and Meta Quest. Last November he used his blog to announce that he was developing a prototype headset which entwines the life of the player with that of their character.
Finally, into the light; finally, the dark forest of Lemsyl is behind us. One final stretch to regain possession of the sword of Ernlys and claim the throne. Just a few more steps remain when, without warning, a dreadful Shanko bursts from a bush at the side of the path. You immediately brandish your weapon and combat is engaged. The battle seems never-ending. The Shanko is ferocious; it avoids your blows and is inflicting severe harm in return. Your strength is nearly exhausted. With a kick, it sends your axe flying to the other side of the road. You have become weakened, your time has come, and with one swipe of its claws, the game is terminated. On the screen, GAME OVER is displayed; that is all that is needed to trigger the explosive microphones embedded within your virtual reality headset. In a fraction of a second, you have lost the game … but also your life. – Don’t bother looking for it; this game is completely fictional. This ending, however, might not be.
There you go – the new virtual reality headset imagined by Palmer Luckey. Permanently on a quest for ever more realistic games, the founder and creator of Oculus and Meta Quest would happily make available a headset which binds the life of an avatar to that of the player. But how does this headset operate? It is in fact fitted with explosive charges capable of killing the wearer in the event of a ‘game over’ situation. For him, this critical tension allows the player to have a completely different perspective on how they play the game and interact with the virtual world.
From fiction to reality
Although the lethal Oculus headset is the first prototype to date, the concept of a device capable of frying a player’s brains is in itself not really new. It draws inspiration from the manga saga, ‘Sword Art Online.’ This series shows us a humanity which has succeeded in creating a virtual reality. 10,000 people find themselves trapped in this world. The only way of getting out of it alive is to complete the game because when a player loses the game, they also die in real life.
This prototype, although theoretically operational, has not yet had the opportunity of being tested. Oddly, nobody seems willing to try their luck…
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