To be completely honest, I am not a "gamer". I can't remember the last video game I played other than Pac-Man at Barcade. When I was asked to review the Oculus Quest 2, I was drawn to it, not necessarily for the gaming capabilities, but for the chance to explore spaces virtually. I've loved touring homes since I was a child, meandering through open houses around the neighborhood with my mom. I have always been interested in how people live and decorate their homes.
I was excited to see how the Oculus could scratch my itch for exploration during these ever-changing pandemic rules. In addition to tours, there are social media experiences, and games where you can interact and play with other people in the VR world. Or you can just browse the web in a theater view.
When the Oculus Quest 2 was delivered, the packaging was sleek and narrow, much smaller than I expected. I was surprised to see that there were only a few components with no wires to plug into a console. The bright white headset has adjustable head straps and movable lenses for maximum comfort and focus. It is rated as more comfortable than previous Oculus models, but to be quite frank, after wearing it for more than 20 minutes the pressure on my head called for a break.
The headset has integrated speakers and a microphone, which creates an immersive experience. Once the device was charged, it was very simple to dive in. I downloaded the Oculus app on my phone, paired the headset to my WIFI, logged into my Facebook account, and was launched into the VR world.
After logging on, Oculus took me through the simple set-up. Then I created the internal guardian boundary so I wouldn't run into walls or furniture. I definitely don't need to fall downstairs or out of a window while in the VR world. I can't think of a more humiliating way to get hurt!
There is A LOT to experience. It's pretty overwhelming and the possibilities are endless. The system is not very intuitive and can be somewhat confusing. It took me some time to navigate, but I found there are three basic forms of content in the virtual world: Games, Virtual Tours, and Cinematic Content. Many experiences are socially interactive.
At its heart, the Oculus Quest 2 is a gaming system. In the First Steps, a vibrant introduction to the VR world, you learn to manipulate the controllers as your hands. I was surprised by the accuracy and sensitivity of the controllers when stacking VR blocks, flying a paper airplane, or hitting a tetherball. You can practice your chops to beat your gaming rivals. There are countless games to choose from, many are free, but some can be pretty pricey. Make sure to read reviews to find the right games for you, as they are all not created equal.
Virtual Tours and Experiences
As I mentioned, I love touring spaces and the Oculus Quest 2 was an exciting way to explore spaces you normally would not be able to experience. I spent too much time on Zillow touring homes I most likely will never able to afford, and went back to places that I've traveled to, like the Palace of Versailles. From perusing iconic pieces of art in museums to floating your way through the International Space Station, there are countless experiences available to give you a virtual behind the scenes look of a lifetime.
Some of the content is purely cinematic and is solely created to tantalize the senses of sight and sound. From transcendent animation to beautiful vistas from around the globe, some content is made to simply sit back and enjoy as it moves you through the space. You can connect with friends or meet new people in the virtual world through social media apps such as Venues. Meet up to watch current or classic films, sporting events, or live concerts. I have to say, it was really cool, but I was awkward interacting with other avatars in the VR world. It was mostly because I had no idea what I was doing and kept saying, "can you hear me, and is this working"? I will revisit that when I have mastered all the controls and the mute button.
I was a bit skeptical in the beginning, but once I got the hang of the system, I had a lot of fun with the limitless sensory content available. The problem I found is that only one user can use each device and a Facebook account to get access. I love that it's an all-inclusive device that is easy to pack up and take with you. My one piece is advice is to buy a sleek docking station to keep things tidy when you are back in the real world.