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Future 2020: Virtual Reality

The Ghouls are making their realities virtual this week for their 2020 Future Technology Series! We're talking about VR, AR, XR, WhateverR and how it can help take us away to new worlds while also helping us get over fears. We also discuss how Virtual Reality horror video games are just that much more terrifyingly fun! We watched Black Mirror's Striking Vipers and Playtest.


RED: Quotes, someone else's words.

Kat's Facts - Is Virtual Reality super helpful?

Virtual reality has a decent amount of positives, specifically as like a form of therapy to reduce fears. So like where were saying why its scary, there are lots of other reason it can be scary, but lets start positive cause new year new us or whatever.

But yeah, a randomised controlled trial led by an Oxford University professor has found that psychological therapy delivered by a virtual reality (VR) coach can aid the recovery of people with a clinically diagnosed fear of heights. 34 out of 49 people who did the VR treatment reported getting over their fear.

There’s also a lot of talk about VR making its way as an exciting new teaching method, VR field trips, language immersion, VR online classes, VR medical lessons, helping doctors, but also students who don’t want to dissect the animals in real time. It is pretty exciting stuff, but for real, a lot of our schools barely have teachers, or enough desks for kids, or even up to date and relevant materials for students, unless you’re in a affluent community, I’d honestly think this just adds another layer of disparity.



Gabe's Film Analysis - Could we lose ourselves in a virtual reality?

In 2016, Michael Madary and Thomas K. Metzinger, researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, in Germany, published a series of recommendations on the ethical design and implementation of virtual reality. Their appraisal of the medium’s psychological force is both studious and foreboding. “The power of V.R. to induce particular kinds of emotions could be used deliberately to cause suffering,” they write. “Conceivably, the suffering could be so extreme as to be considered torture.” In filmmaking, the director must perform a kind of seduction of dread, leading viewers through an escalating series of psychological states. In the immersive world of V.R., no such dance is required.

“A book can be put down,” Scott Stephan, a designer at Wevr, a V.R. studio in Los Angeles, said. “It’s always clear that the experience is voluntary.” In V.R., he added, there is not even the comforting abstraction of the video-game controller. “Your body becomes profoundly integral. Your body becomes the interface.”

If traditional media—novels, films, radio, even video games—offer the thrill of the roller coaster, the mimicry of peril, V.R. removes the sturdy track and the shoulder restraints.

Part of the power of V.R.-based horror comes from the fact that the director knows exactly where the viewer is looking. “With that knowledge, we can play mind tricks or trigger events based on the gaze,” Jon Hibbins, the director of Psytec Games, a London-based V.R. studio, told me. For instance, he said, in Psytec’s most recent fantasy-horror title, Crystal Rift, “a monster can appear in a vent only when the player looks at the vent.”



Media from this week's episode:

Black Mirror Episodes

Both Written by Charlie Booker

Striking Vipers

Director: Owen Harris

Two estranged college friends reunite in later life, triggering a series of events that could alter their lives forever.

  • They missed a chance to be something here. The use of two black men acting out suppressed homosexual thoughts could’ve MEANT something but we are pushed back by their inability to admit it in reality.

  • Living life through virtual reality where you can not only play a character that represents the you that lies within you could’ve been an awesome opportunity to approach the topic of gender non-comformity or trans-identity. It dips a toe in when In one scene, Karl comments that occupying a female avatar within the world of the titular VR-enhanced video game feels more profound to him than his entire life’s experience as a man, but it never comes up again.

  • Black Mirror kinda reminds me of American Horror Story and Ryan Murphy. They coast on this praise that they’re saying something with their work but in all honesty, its lifeless and insulting representation that further perpetuates the tropes we’ve grown accustomed to only dolled up with effects and the casting of popular actors. - Gabe


An American traveler short on cash signs up to test a revolutionary new gaming system, but soon can't tell where the hot game ends and reality begins.

Director: Dan Trachtenberg

Writer: Charlie Brooker


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