Street luge is one of those sports--it's a sport, right?--that I knew from a very young age that I'd never try. I mean, I couldn't even count on myself to stay put in the batter's box in little league baseball whenever a pitch was thrown; I didn't want to get smashed in the face by a fastball, ya know? So, yeah. The idea of lying down flat on an oversized skateboard and plummeting down a street at a 90-degree angle isn't exactly appealing--that is, unless I can do it from the safety of a bean bag chair while wearing a virtual reality headset. That's exactly what I did thanks to an awesome Street Luge VR demo running on Sony's Project Morpheus. Man, what a ride.
I've written before about the sorts of experiences we can expect from virtual reality's early years, and the Street Luge demo perfectly reinforces the notion that immersion trumps complexity when it comes to VR games. Here's how it works: you lean on an incline surface to mimic the posture you'd have on an actual luge. When the demo begins, I steer left and right simply by tilting my head--no controller necessary. At first, I go slow as I build up momentum. A minute later, I'm barrelling down a winding road at speeds of 80+ miles per hour. Oh, and by the way, I have to dodge cars. No big deal.
Admittedly, there is a bit of a disconnect from what my eyes perceive as fast-paced motion, and what my body actually feels--which is to say, nothing. The experience didn't generate motion sickness, but there was an odd sensation that I wasn't actually moving even though my eyes were convinced that I was. Even so, the luge experience was pretty great, and I can't wait to see what the future of VR has in store.