Sunday, October 11, 2015
Goosebumps Virtual Reality Adventure Is Technologocially Advanced But Also Too Hyperactive For Its Own Good
The set-up for this experience is relatively simple; an individual is sat down into a D-Box chair, which is a special sort of movie theater seating device that moves around the audience member via shaking in accordance with the action occurring on-screen, and then places a virtual reality headset on their cranium. Then a short film that doesn't last for more than two minute occurs that has one in the passenger seat of a car driven by Jack Black as R.L. Stine. And wouldn't you know it, but the vehicle is being chased by a giant praying mantis, allowing for the D-Box chairs numerous opportunities to swivel the viewer around.
One of the most notable aspects of virtual reality is the concept of immersion, as this headset allows a person the ability to look around every nook and cranny of this environment. It's a neat idea in theory, but the extremely fast-paced nature of this experience (you are being chased by a praying mantis after all) means there's very few opportunities to take in one's surroundings. A more leisurely paced narrative could have at least afforded the possibility of taking advantage of the immersive aspects virtual reality offers.
Having such a "go-go-go!!!" stride in every frame of this experience makes this Goosebumps Virtual Reality Adventure feel like, more than anything else, a theme park ride, which is a venue that virtual reality may actual be perfectly suited for (I believe the forthcoming Avatar Land has some sort of virtual reality attractions in the works). Like a number of theme park rides, the thrills of this short feature are delivered with some humor, courtesy of Jack Black dropping some one-liners as he tries to outrun the praying mantis. For me at least, the best of his quips is his reference to how the praying mantis, which comes from a book his character wrote, attacking him is "...like Frankenstein's monster attacking Dr. Frankenstein, it's unnatural!"
Two quick things to close up my first ever review of a virtual reality experience; the first is that no one under the age of 13 is allowed onto the Goosebumps Virtual Reality Adventure. That's understandable given that the combination of the D-Box and the intense nature of the virtual reality film would likely be overstimulating to younger viewers, but given that the film its advertising, Goosebumps, is a family film, many of the individuals who would actually want to partake in this unique entity can't. It may be a better idea to use an older-skewing film as the basis for future virtual reality experiences. Secondly, after taking off the virtual reality headset, I found myself briefly discombobulating adjusting to the real world. I have no idea if this is solely because this was my first time in one of these headsets and that prolonged use of such objects means such discombobulation isn't a problem in the future, but I just thought I'd give a heads up so anyone who engages in the Goosebumps Virtual Reality Adventure won't be surprised to find themselves feeling momentarily woozy afterwards.