Forays into VR

I always told myself I’d get in to VR when it had gone through a few generations and it was more affordable. It’s been something on the back of my mind for a few years but not something I was dieing for.

For one, my GTX 1060 is barely on the cusp for PC VR requirements. While I’d love to upgrade my graphics card, we all know how things have been going over the last few years. At this point I’m sure it will be cheaper to buy a new computer than upgrade my components. 

There also weren’t that many games I wanted to play. Ok, I was chomping at the bit to play Elite: Dangerous in VR a few years ago but my interest in Elite wasn’t what it was.

That is until I ended up being the one in our friend group without it after the holidays. Call it peer pressure, call it FOMO, I wanted to join in the fun with everyone else. So I went out and got a Quest 2. I know, I know, Facebook bad but they were going to suck the data out of me anyways right?

Now, the Quest 2 has a couple things going for it that sold me. One, it’s the cheapest headset out there. $300 is a whole lot easier to take a chance on than $600-$1000. Two, my friend who has been into VR for the longest time recommended it. Those two things together made it an easy choice. I’m surprised I was able to order it for same day pick up at the local Best Buy Especially a few days after the holidays. 

I brought it home and my wife asked me if it would be sitting on the shelf at the end of the month…so the real test was to see how long it would hold my interest.

The first few days were awesome. I felt like I had rediscovered gaming. Thanks to the Steam Winter Sale we were able to pick up a fair number of multiplayer games to try out. After 2 weeks the honeymoon phase was over but I’m still playing around with it.

My graphics card seems to be holding up well so far. I can run everything I’ve got so far with no noticeable frame drops or much tweaking of the graphics settings. It’s my router that needs and upgrade if I want to take advantage of the Quest 2’s wireless PC VR features. Right now, my 8 year old 2.4 ghz router is not cutting it. It works ok when I’m home alone but once someone uses the internet for anything games are unplayable.

Lucky for me, 10 foot USB A to USB C cables are not that expensive. Hooking up the headset with the wire made a night and day difference in performance and stability. It was like getting to experience it for the first time again. This set up lends itself well to games where you don’t need to physically move as much.

My go to games have been Walkabout Mini Golf, Google Earth VR (not a game but still fun), and Elite: Dangerous. Oh yes, Elite is just as good in VR as I thought it would be all those years ago. I can see myself writing about Elite much more in the future.

Unexpectedly, the game that has captured the heart of my core gaming group has been Premium Bowling VR. We’ve been playing it every weekend this month. Is it glorified Wii bowling? Yes. But it’s so much fun getting to hang out with my friends from different states and kind of feel like we’re doing an activity together.

VR is in the gaming mix now. I am looking forward to exploring it more and taking the time to find some good single player experiences as well.

I’m still trying to figure out a good way to take screenshots in VR.

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