For those that read my articles, you know all too well that I see VR arcades as a bastion of the industry along with the needs of it in education and physical fitness. In this article, we are going to take a quick peak at Tower tag and discuss the unseen benefit of this type of game for the VR industry, military training and using VR for fitness goals as well. The game has received a lot of praise since its debut at the conventions, but does it really live up to the hype? Let’s do a side by side comparison with Raw Data and then get to why these types are games are a lot more important than you’d think when it comes to the fitness and VR industries evolving together.
Tower Tag Impressions vs. Raw Data
|Tower Tag||Raw Data|
|Objectives||In Tower Tag, you must go from tower to tower in order to defend yourself against enemies. There are no more objectives other than this.||In Raw Data, you must stay mostly stationary as you defend against your enemies. The true objective is to take down an evil corporation.|
|Activity||You are continuously hiding under cover and moving around in a circle to focus your aim on different opponents.||You are continuously hiding under cover and moving around in a circle to focus your aim on different opponents. You must also physically defend against those that come within reaching distance.|
|Weapons||Lasers||A lot more than lasers, but also includes lasers and a kitana|
|Can it be run on a Home PC||The game runs off of a portable PC system. Therefore, it can most definitely be run on a Home PC||That’s one of the requirements in order to get it.|
As you can clearly see, they could have easily just used Raw Data and achieved very similar results. One of the only difference is that the gun that they use to play Tower Tag has haptic feedback and also provides the locomotion in the game. Now that I’ve talked about the game itself and shown the hyped up unimpressive side, let’s delve into why both of these games are important and how they both do live up to some of the hype, but it different ways than you’d expect.
Militant Virtual Training
These games can truly be used to train soldiers in the field. Unlike games of the past like Counter Strike, especially shooting simulators for the military, the realism involved with these games had reached a limit. On the battlefield, you will experience impact from your gun, weather conditions that affect the bullet, design flaws in guns, and a long list of other things that gamers usually don’t want incorporated into the game because “it’s the games fault I lost” and this is a common complaint.
With VR, this story can be different and all the missing points I talked about in the game can be programmed into the game. Militant simulators try to make it as real as possible because even though we don’t really want the simulators in the hands of the military, they likely already have them if we’re just thinking about them. It’s a paranoid train of thought but it is what keeps the military constantly on its feet with future research and better equipment/training.
How Can These Games Make you Fit?
Arcade or home bound, capturing a truly accurate military, first person shooter experience in VR is so much more than a boon to the industry itself. It’s even a lot more than the sum of it’s benefit on training people in the military. Dare I say, that the biggest and most important impact will come in the form of how it could make users fitter than ever. This goes beyond the idea of how people in the military are fitter than most or that military training is quite possibly the most intense there is. In fact, the point here is that by making an experience that can truly capture the essence of a first person shooter game in VR could be the link that VR and Fitness need to finally be a working team together to change both industries.
Let’s consider the fitness element first. A 30 minute session of a first person shooter in true VR fitness where you have to run, walk, lunge, squat, push, swing, throw, raise and lower a weapon and harness your adrenaline is nearly immeasurable when it comes to fitness benefits, but we can very easily nail down a minimum of 250 calories burned during a total body experience–even if the gun/controller is lightweight. Add in some weighted vests, wrist and leg weights and you can kiss your gym membership goodbye.
Let’s shift gears to the VR element. VR already has a lot of shooting games. You can shoot lasers and beams of light and play within your own playlist of songs to really disconnect from the world around you. But anyone who thinks that this is the zenith of first person shooter experiences in VR is dead wrong. Evolving away from the cute games we’ve already seen, if VR could truly capture the essence of a first person shooter that even the military uses to train, then the realism would be off the charts! It would be more real, than virtual like all the other games are right now.
Now, let’s consider the VR and Fitness elements together. We’ve talked about harnessing the experience in VR to make a truly immersed game that forces people to workout without knowing it. That should be the goal of any developer trying to mingle VR and Fitness together. Why is the first person shooter the most important element that many haven’t considered yet? The first person shooter that is real enough for the military and intense enough to burn hundreds of calories every time you use it, is exactly what VR and Fitness could and should be together. This is why we love Tower Tag arcade and Raw Data, but why we also want the industry to push way past the cute game approach and get more real and less virtual. That is the game changer than VR and Fitness need to finally come together.