Hello, my name is Tom and I’m an arachnophobe. I am a firm believer that spiders are the worst and nothing you can say will convince me otherwise.
“But Tom, the scary looking huntsman spiders can’t hurt you, in fact they kill other, worse insects and spiders around your home!” Don’t care. If they want to do that, they can do that outside. My house has one rule and one rule only: all spiders die once they cross the threshold.
Now that you know that about me, you can imagine how loudly I shouted “NOPE” when I came across the VR game Arachnophobia this morning. Developed by IgnisVR for the Vive and Oculus Rift, all the game asks of you is to sit still in a room with a wonderful city view while you wilfully expose yourself to more and more spiders in the hopes you can overcome your fear of them.
Oh, they also decorate the virtual room with photos of spiders, a chart detailing the symptoms of a spider bite as well as an antidote you can’t actually use because your hands are fixed to the table. So that’s great.
There are five levels of exposure which you can increase or decrease at any time. The first being a single spider in a jar, the second being several spiders in a larger jar.
The third level places those spiders out on the table in front of you and the fourth increases their numbers. As for the final phase, it looks like what I would equate to the end of days.
Screenshots are one thing, but you’ve really got to see this thing in action to get the full effect. I’ve searched for video footage and the best one by far is Kotaku’s Mike Fahey, an admitted arachnophobe, giving it a whirl. He’s a braver man than I, that’s for sure.
It seems odd that I would happily spend hours and hours in a Great-White-Shark-ripping-my-diving-cage-apart VR simulator but this kind of thing would destroy me psychologically. I have no objective answer for that, only that sharks are amazing, fascinating creatures and spiders are the horrifying spawn of Satan so that’s reason enough for me.
Now I’m off to look at lots of photos of adorable puppies in order to cleanse my eyes of this trauma.