"Time Machine" Offers Us an Early Look at Virtual Reality

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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"Time Machine" Offers Us an Early Look at Virtual Reality

While the idea of virtual reality has been around for some time, the options of games to be had for it has been a lot slimmer. Indeed, virtual reality has been very light on games, at least for now...but that's a point that may be about to change as "Time Machine" hits early access.

The reports suggest that "Time Machine" can only be played in virtual reality, and it is so far one of the most impressive releases so far in the visual. While there have been some other such games to arrive--just look at the sheer number of Let's Play videos on YouTube to involve the Oculus Rift somehow--this one may be one of the biggest of its time.

"Time Machine" sends users careening across time and space, running into giant animals of uncertain provenance in a kind of strange sort of hovercraft / submarine hybrid. A pre-alpha trailer from E3 2015 proves that E3 is the gift that keeps on giving, showing off an experience that looks about like what we'd always hoped virtual reality would be like. While gameplay seems a bit simplistic, I'm certainly impressed by the combination of impressive graphics and perfectly fitting background music. But a point has stuck with me, and it seems to have stuck with many others: what kind of market can this game have, since only a virtual handful of people have access to an Oculus Rift developer's kit in the first place?

But that doesn't seem to phase Minority Media lead game designer Patrick Harris, who noted that the whole reason the game was going to early access to begin with was to work with a very small audience. This small but hopefully ultra-dedicated audience should, in turn, provide the makers with sufficient feedback to make a wide release all the better for it. Since it will likely be a while before there even can be a wide release to begin with--first quarter of 2016 was the last report--it gives the makers plenty of time to work with to really make this game sing.

Not a bad idea, really; let's face it, the next several months will be so cram-a-jam full of content that "Time Machine," as beautiful as it may be, will have to fight tooth and nail to get anywhere. But if it can hold off the release until later, it may well be able to get some leverage in a less crowded market, piggybacking some of its marketing on the Oculus Rift's own release, which will be a noteworthy event when it actually takes place.

Maybe "Time Machine" has a good idea here after all. We'll find out one way or another, naturally, when the game comes out, but releasing to a small crowd in a heavily-populated release cycle to go to a full release later when things have quieted down may not be a half-bad strategy in the end.

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