Better Than Life

About thirteen or so years ago, I was introduced to the British sci-fi comedy show Red Dwarf. To briefly summarise it for those who have not seen it: David Lister, third-technician aboard the mining vessel Red Dwarf, is locked in stasis for illegally bringing a cat on board and ends up waking up three million years later after a radiation leak wipes out the rest of the crew.

Since the show started production in the 1980s, a lot of the general tech used on the show over the years is a hybrid of now-outdated technologies and predictions of how tech would evolve in both the near and far futures. For example, VHS tapes still exist but are now triangular. Sometimes their guesswork has come rather close to coming true even in today’s technological age. I can easily see the ship computer Holly being a logical evolution of smart devices like Alexa.  

A couple of episodes focused on the future of computer games. The episode Better Than Life introduced the Total Immersion Video Games, which put players directly into the games themselves. These have seen numerous different interpretations in the show, ranging from a small bike helmet-type device to large booths that players stood or reclined in, but the most notable is in the 1993 episode, Gunmen of the Apocalypse. In this episode, Artificial Reality games were shown being played using a headset and special gloves.

Roll forward twenty years, and this headset is one bit of tech which has become very real and publicly accessible. Virtual Reality is still quite a niche category in gaming, but it has been making more of a steady foothold over the past couple of years.

Since purchasing Squadrons, my curiosity for how it would look in VR got the better of me and so as of Christmas Day last year I now have my very own headset. Today's post is dedicated to giving it a bit of a review.