We are probably not going to fly bodily through the colorful virtual reality of the internet. However, through VR we will experience many things in many new ways. And our narratives and stories will change accordingly to the whims of VR. So what the ambitious new narrative VR projects that people are working on?
1. Anne Frank in VR
The diary of Anne Frank is one the most widely read and known works to come out of World War II. I‘m not even sure if the word “work” applies to a diary of Jewish teen hiding from the Nazis. We usually have to rely on our imagination to put ourselves into her shoes. Now, a new movie project will use VR to actually take us to the attic where Anne had been hiding so long ago. Creatively named Anne, it’s helmed by producer Jonah Hirsch and filmmaker Danny Abrahms, who said that “to experience this film will be to immerse oneself into a place and time, to move about a room, amongst the people, and sense the moment in a way never possible before.” Hirsch’s previous work already includes First, a virtual reality movie about Wright’s brother path to the first manned flight.
2. Samsung Bedtime VR Stories
Apparently, research shows that a third of parents miss out on their children’s bedtime stories – that’s a lot of tales left untold, and a lot of brightly colored books left unread. Well, Samsung is aiming to do something about it. Samsung Bedtime VR Stories is a collaborative social experience that lets parents read and experience a bed time story with their children. Launched with a single story called “The Most Wonderful Place To Be”, it lets the parent and child (represented by VR headset wearing blobs of purple cotton candy) travel through wondrous places on a flying bed. It’s low on interactivity – a necessity if you want to used Google Cardboad – but it’s still a fun before-sleep romp. It also shows the power of stylized low-polygon art assets in game – they look awesome, and they save on valuable processing power!
3. Ghibli Movies VR
Studio Ghibli has produced some of the most classical and venerated works in anime, if not animation in general. They’re wonderful representatives of a world and a story told in 2D. However, there are creative people out there who think that at least some parts of those stories would be better experienced in 3D. An artist has launched a VR experience that contains the bus stop scene from My Neighbor Totoro, The Boiler Room from Spirited Away and the Meadow from Howl’s Moving Castle. Unfortunately, the creator was contacted by Studio Ghibli and the downloads have been taken down.
4. 6×9 by The Guardian
Being in prison is one thing. Getting sent to solitary confinement is a whole other deal. The Guardian made a VR experience that dips you into solitary confinement for a short time. You’re not totally alone – you can hear and read extracts from the prisoners’ stories and learn how easy it is to both end up there and get your solitary time extended. You also get to experience the ways that solitary confinement affects people’s psyche – it’s not a healthy thing, and it’s quite horrible to see. It is the first of Guardian-produced VR experiences and you only need Google Cardboard to get it.
IAnimal is the product of the cooperation between Animal Equality and Condition One. It’s a harrowing tour of a pig slaughterhouse that shows factory farming from the start at the holding pens to the grisly ends. The video was introduced in the Sundance Film Festival and the VR experience has impacted hundreds of people. Take heed: this presentation is not for the faint hearted.
Now, maybe you have some creative VR ideas of your own? Well, it’s the best time to make them a reality. Major game engines that enable all sorts of VR creations are now free and easier to use than ever. And stock 3D marketplaces like CGTrader have all the assets that you need to create your stories, whether they’re as starkly realistic as 6×9 or as colorful as Samsung Bedtime VR Stories. Just get out there and do it!
[Image via Google Images]