VR games are everywhere at PAX Aus this year. Now that the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR are all out and in people’s homes, every indie developer and their dogs are keen to show off what they have in store for these shiny new toys.
But out of all the VR games on display on the PAX Rising indie floor, The American Dream by Melbourne-based studio Samurai Punk immediately grabbed my attention, primarily because it involved playing as a pistol wielding baby being fed by its mother via the tip of a gun.
The idea is that you play through the mundane everyday activities of the average person, from infancy to a working adult, but using guns to solve all your problems. Players sit in a little cart that wheels them from scenario to scenario, all the while guided by Buddy Washington, a stuffed dog enthusiastically giving you instructions and Bioshock-like propaganda from a mounted speaker in his mouth.
In my brief demonstration, I called for my mother’s attention by firing a couple of rounds into my bedroom door. Later I performed my duties at the bagel factory by shooting holes through the dough, and the developers have said other activities in the full release will involve driving, fixing your car, general housework and even cleaning someone’s teeth.
“America is a good lense to explore through given the kinds of problems they have at the moment,” he says, “but with [The American Dream] we want to let players use guns to do absolutely everything aside from what you normally do with them in video games.”
The PAX demo ran on an Oculus Rift and utilised the Oculus Touch motion controllers, which hit the market later this December. The Touch controllers provided some excellent tracking, making little quirks like reloading your pistols mid air and sliding back to chamber to check your ammo all the more immersive.
The section I played yesterday, being fed as a baby and then flashing forward to shooting holes in bagels, is just a small part of what McDonnell describes as a two-three hour linear experience. For those of you who are immediately turned off when you hear the word “linear” in a games’s description, McDonnell also mentioned plans to add an arcade shooting mode for replayability.
The American Dream is due to release simultaneously for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR sometime in mid 2017.