Both­er­ing Jeff Min­ter’s sheep fol­low­ing a trip to Mute City


We’ve heard it so many times. Some of us may have even ut­tered the words our­selves: “This is great, but… imag­ine it in VR.” Now that we’ve spent time im­mersed in VR with all sorts of games and other ap­pli­ca­tions, and for ex­tended pe­ri­ods rather than sim­ply dab­bling, the in­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the re­mark comes into grim fo­cus. In com­pil­ing this is­sue’s Play sec­tion, for the first time in his­tory a game caused one of our re­view staff to ac­tu­ally vomit.

Videogames have long held the po­ten­tial to mess with our bod­ies’ del­i­cate sys­tems. This par­ish’s own James Leach re­calls a trip to see game de­signer Jeff Min­ter 25 years ago: “We went to his cot­tage in deep­est Wales. We saw a va­ri­ety of llama-re­lated ti­tles he was de­vel­op­ing, and then he showed off his brand-new Su­per Fam­i­com on a big TV. He had F-Zero, with its mighty Mode 7 3D ef­fects, and af­ter a few min­utes of both watch­ing and play­ing it, my face went ex­tremely cold and I had to go into the gar­den, where there were three sheep. A pint of tea, mixed with a mo­tor­way breakfast and a Fry’s Turk­ish De­light, was ejected over the fence. I re­call not want­ing his sheep to graze on the fresh vomit, which was thought­ful of me. On the way back we had to stop at the Sev­ern Cross­ing ser­vices so that more spew could emerge. I did my best to avoid Mode 7 games af­ter that. And lamb, for a while, too.” In a way, it all brings us back to what we were talk­ing about in the in­tro of

E291 – that we should be in­creas­ingly dis­in­clined to ex­pect that what works for one per­son will chime with an­other. Plenty of you will be able to make it through all of this is­sue’s VR games with­out turn­ing green, af­ter all.

This month’s cover game, Mir­ror’s Edge: Cat­a­lyst, is pre­cisely the sort of thing that would have once been naively held up as a made-to-or­der can­di­date for VR treat­ment. But, sen­si­bly, it is be­ing de­liv­ered in a con­text much less likely to turn the stom­ach, as a PC, PS4 and Xbox One ac­tion ad­ven­ture played on an old-fash­ioned screen, with fa­mil­iar con­trollers. Cru­cially, though, the team at DICE is putting in the ef­fort to build upon the lus­trous orig­i­nal in a se­ries of in­no­va­tive ways. Our re­port be­gins on p60.

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