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Monthly Archives: July 2011

As an appropriate beginning for this blog, I figured I should begin with one of my first exposures to immersive technologies. How else did I get interested in the subject without some kind of lead, right?

Fashionable VR to recover your memories from your past!

So, “What’s with this image?” you may be asking yourself (which by the way was shamelessly pulled from Insight On Video Games).

Well, Star Ocean: The Second Story (SO2) for the PlayStation is one of the culprits entities responsible for my interest in Virtual Reality (VR). In particular, the scene above occurs after our heroes leave their home planet Expel with no way of returning. Some time late game, the “Mysterious old man” offers our heroes a way home via the latest VR technology! Kind of similar to the scene with Neo and Morpheus in the Matrix, where Morpheus offers Neo the choice to find out more about the Matrix.

Upon accepting the man’s offer, the heroes can walk on their home planet once again. There are some subtle changes such as additional areas to explore thanks to the Synard, which is an aerial mode of transportation in the game, but ultimately the recreation of the world, now called Virtual Expel, is entirely the same.

When SO2 first came out, I was barely beginning middle school. At the time, I didn’t think much about the implications of VR other than I could explore places and do things I wasn’t able to participate in previously in the context of SO2’s plot.

Despite acknowledging this potential – the ability to do things inside a virtual world that you normally couldn’t do in the real world – with respect to the game, I didn’t make the connection between mapping this application to my real world. I wouldn’t come by this realization until after .Hack//Sign (pronounced “dot hack sign”) captivated me with its complex and interpersonal narrative some years later.  Still, it’s interesting to note that these initial musings started as early as they did and slowly eased more and more into my interests.

While SO2 didn’t really give me the biggest exposure to immersive technology, it certainly was one of the initial factors that contributed to my interest in VR, which I would later explore in depth as a viewer of .Hack//Sign and eventually as a senior research assistant in Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

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