This week we learned about multimedia in class, and the 2 main terms that we may be more familiar with were Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Personally, I might have accidentally used the 2 terms interchangeably, but now I’ve learned that they are actually 2 super different things.
The main difference lies in the environment. For VR, the environment is computer-generated, so it creates an immersive feel for the user in a non-physical world that looks like it actually exists. On the other hand, AR works with the current physical environment of the user and superimposes virtual images so that they add on to the experience. So the names given are pretty much accurate (“virtual” = non-physical; “augmented” = add on — in case you didn’t catch my point).
Between the two, I think that AR would be something that most of us would have already experienced with our smartphones (assuming that it is something that most of us would have). Think SNAPCHAT, or even the selfie camera app SNOW. These apps use various stickers, filters, and other forms of editing to change how we look.
But what about VR? Unless you own an Oculus Rift or a Google Glass VR, VR may not be something that everyone get to experience. It was something that I didn’t get to try until I went to South Korea. Of course, there are various ways that we can use VR for, for example, for entertainment (games, movies), healthcare (therapy, assistance in diagnosis and treatment), and even education! Well, instead of those, I’m going to share my experience with VR at the amusement park! (Bet you didn’t see that coming!)
In my recent trip to South Korea, I got the chance to go to Lotte World again. However, this time, they offered a VR experience for 2 of their rides. So, since they were something new, and I had ridden those rides before, I thought I should give it a go. The 2 rides were Gyro Drop and French Revolution.
NOTE: Spoilers ahead! (Based on my short-term memory)
We are supposedly some construction worker in a super high-tech world (we would see stuffs flying around and the buildings all look super futuristic). So, we have to take our elevator-like ride to bring us to the top so that we can work. But somehow, when we reached the top, the machine broke down, and our ride started falling (in time with our big drop irl). Then when it seemed that all hopes were lost for our dear lives, a friendly robot (reminded me of Transformers) managed to catch us in time, so we’re all saved. YAYS!
I honestly enjoyed this ride a lot with the VR! I can’t say that I enjoyed it any better or less, but I felt that with the VR, you don’t actually feel the big drop as bad. In fact, you might not even realize that you’re actually falling because the scene in the VR makes it feel like it’s not even real at all (like as if you’re sitting on a stationary ride and experiencing the VR). I feel that this is a super good way to help people overcome their fears of getting on the Gyro Drop, because 1) you can’t see that you’re actually high up in the air, 2) you’re constantly being distracted by what you see in the VR, and 3) the smooth integration/transition of the ride and VR makes you forget that you’re on a scary ride.
Rating: 4.5/5 (-0.5 because some part of the thrill factor was lost in the process)
We are set in the medieval times. We are in a cart and and a dragon is pulling us around in the sky, but we are under attack by some weird monsters in the sky! :O One thing cool about this VR experience is that we could interact with it! So we could actually shoot the monsters by aiming with our head and then touching the sides of the glasses to shoot them.
To be honest, I felt that the VR ruined the entire roller coaster ride — that’s not what you want when you needa queue for almost 2 hours. I mean, the whole VR experience was really cool, but it took the fun out of the ride because 1) you get super distracted trying to shoot the monsters so you kinda forget that you’re on a roller coaster, 2) you can’t see where you’re going (and that’s SUPER important for a roller coaster ride), and 3) because you can’t see where you’re going, you lose track of your sense of direction (the ride had 360° spins vertically AND horizontally) which defeated the purpose of the attraction itself. What a bummer! I was seriously super disappointed after the ride.
Rating: 1/5 (I’m only giving 1 because I’m sucha mountain tortoise so I didn’t know that I could aim and shoot stuffs with the VR glasses)
MY ADVICE: Please ride the ride as it is. Trust me, it’s totally worth your 2-hour plus wait in exchange for 2 minutes.
Well, the above 2 rides were using VR as part of the attraction experience. At another amusement park, Everland, they had offered VR for one of their famous roller coaster ride as well.
I didn’t try it because I rode the actual ride itself. This VR was for people who want to have a feel of what it would be like to ride it without actually having to ride it. My mom went for it instead because she was too scared to ride the real deal, and she told us that the VR experience was super scary because it felt super realistic.
So yeah, these are the 2 ways currently to incorporate VR at the amusement park! I hope that you guys would get to experience something like that for yourselves~ If you’re riding the rides for the first time, my advice would be to ride it as it is the first time if you’re not scared of roller coasters/thrilling rides; if not, just go ahead with the VR.
That’s it for now~ I hope this post was enlightening (somewhat).