Today I had my first proper play with Google Cardboard and I must say it was a lot of fun!
What is it? You may well ask! I only came across it relatively recently myself via a friend at work – thanks Esther! It’s essentially Google’s answer to creating immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences that are “simple, fun and affordable.”
To start, you’ll ideally need an android phone – I did try it out on my iPhone, but the results were not as good, and a viewer. Apparently you can make your own viewer (so I’ve heard, although I haven’t personally tried or know anyone who has), or you can pick up a viewer here. The link in the previous sentence takes you to a range of viewers that have been endorsed by Google to work effectively with Google Cardboard apps and contain the logo to the right (a kind of kitemark, if you will). However, I bought my viewer from Amazon UK for only £10, and I’ve noticed it doesn’t have the logo, but seem to work fine nevertheless. It would be interesting to see how they compare to Google-endorsed viewers, but I guess the point is if you want to have a quick play you can at relatively low cost. After getting a viewer you then have to assemble it, which is fairly straightforward. Like with anything else, if you’re unsure though there are plenty of short video tutorials on YouTube that will walk you through this.
After putting the viewer together you’re almost good to go. Search the Google Play Store for “Google Cardboard apps” and you’ll get a range of apps like those pictured below. First, go for the Cardboard app (first one in the image below) and then other VR apps you download will sit inside this app.
Many of these apps are short VR games you can play (many of which are free to download too) that give you a feel for the whole VR experience. Personally, I’m a bit of a horror fan, so I was keen to try out the “A Chair In A Room” game and loved it! Here’s a short YouTube clip of the game (don’t worry – it doesn’t contain any spoilers):
Perhaps not one for the squeamish to try out first (seriously, it’s not too scary. Honestly…), but wearing the viewer does give you an eerie sense of being part of the whole experience more. The music is equally atmospheric and the fact that your field of vision is completely captured by the viewer makes for a more immersive experience than simply playing a game on a widescreen TV, PC, tablet, etc. In fact, whilst playing I found myself becoming so involved at times that I had to occasionally stop and remove the viewer to prevent myself bumping into furniture as I stumbled around my house! Being a horror themed game there’s a lot of fumbling around in the darkness with only a torch that has a dodgy battery, creating more suspense.
Anyway, I just wanted to share a quick post with my initial ramblings on Google Cardboard, I’d better finish the game *dons viewer* and investigate that suspicious looking…
Wait, hang on…?