Strolling the streets of Pompeii, exploring the tomb of Nefertari in Egypt, floating above the International Space Station or watching a movie on a 350-inch movie screen… These are some of the things you can do from your favorite armchair, thank you to the magic of virtual reality.
When you have to spend a lot of time at home, it is normal to turn to Netflix and company, or video games, to escape. But nothing can compare to virtual reality when it comes to feeling like you are somewhere else. A screen cannot convey the sense of presence that VR achieves, thanks to the life-size image and 3D sound that encompasses your entire visual space, along with motion sensors. We are going to see 10 virtual reality experiences that will amaze you and help you escape.
Get inside the painting of La Gioconda, explore the International Space Station or enjoy the cave paintings of the Chauvet caves… surrounded by cave bears, are some of the things we are going to do.
If you find them in stock, right now the most balanced glasses in relation to quality / price are the Oculus Quest, autonomous glasses that work on PC via streaming.
Most of the experiences cited have been created for PC glasses, although some of them are available for PlayStation VR or mobile. You can get cheap PC virtual reality glasses starting at $ 150 or $ 200 on eBay or Wallapop, if you search well.
All work on all models (Oculus, HTC, Windows Mixed Reality, Pimax) and can be downloaded on Steam, unless we indicate otherwise. They can also be in the native store of your glasses, if so, that version is recommended.
Most of them are free experiences that have come out recently, so you will surely find some that you do not know, even if you are a veteran of VR. There are a couple of payments but they are only a few euros, it is worth the outlay. If you’re looking for other, less recent options, check out these 10 free VR games and experiences you shouldn’t miss on PC and 10 free PlayStation VR games and experiences.
Table of Contents
- BigScreen Cinema, 3D cinema on a 300-inch screen
- Porsche Halls of Legends VR (virtual reality)
- Horizon beyond
- Museum of Other Realities (MOR)
- Google Earth VR
- IL DIVINO: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR
- The Dawn of Art: The Prehistoric Caves of Chauvet
- BBC Home – A VR Spacewalk
- Nefertari: Journey to Eternity / Pompeii
- Art Plunge
BigScreen Cinema, 3D cinema on a 300-inch screen
The magic of virtual reality, which most people can’t imagine until they try it, is that everything you see is life-size. Be it an ant, or an aircraft carrier.
So nothing prevents you from modeling a movie theater, and projecting a movie on a 300-inch panel. That’s exactly what Bigscreen Cinema does, a virtual cinema platform that projects 2D and 3D movies every day that you enjoy with other people around the world, as if you were in a real cinema. It’s available for PC, but it’s coming out on PS VR soon.
The movies change every week, and although they are not new, there are very attractive titles, such as the latest Indiana Jones, Star Trek, Transformer, and others that you see on a huge screen and in 3D, without the disadvantages of 3D TVs. Since virtual reality has two real lenses, you do not need to darken the image to generate the 3D effect. They look spectacular, although logically the resolution will be the maximum that your glasses offer.
Each pass costs between 4 and 5 euros, depending on whether it is in 2D or 3D, although you can see free trailers and classic chapters of series like Doctor Who. It is possible to watch the films in public rooms, alone or in private rooms with your friends, and comment on them via chat.
Another interesting feature is that on the screen you can project your Windows desktop, and run games and applications on a 200-inch panel, or watch your own videos.
An experience worth trying. It will surprise you.
Porsche Halls of Legends VR (virtual reality)
The popular German car manufacturer has created an entertaining virtual reality experience where we have the possibility to explore in great detail, and in real size, several of the brand’s legendary models. From the Egger Lohner C.2 Phaeton of 1894, which is basically a powered carriage, to the classic 550 Spyder of 1954 or the modern Porsche 919 Hybrid of 2018.
In a futuristic garage we access each of the vehicles, and here we can read various curiosities of their manufacture or their racing history, interact with period objects and examine the car by walking around it.
Each vehicle includes a mythical scene that we can relive in the first person. The most spectacular takes us inside the Porsche 550 Spyder when, at the 1954 Mille Miglia, Hans Herrmann and Herbert Linge jumped over the railroad track and were about to be run over by the locomotive.
Porsche Hall of Legends VR is an interesting experience if you are a fan of cars and, especially, of the German brand.
Horizon Beyond is a quiet and fun experience, ideal for relaxing.
You drive a flying ship in a fantasy landscape, over huge hills or inside caves. It takes a little skill to control the rudder and orient the sails to change height.
In addition there are some dangers in the form of tentacular monsters and pelicans that will unbalance the boat until you give them a fish, which you must first catch.
Museum of Other Realities (MOR)
It is possible to visit many real museums in virtual reality, but they are experiences that almost never take advantage of the magic of virtual reality, because you do the same thing that you would do if you were in the real museum.
Museum of Other Realities (MOR) is a virtual museum, designed to take advantage of all the virtues of VR. More than 20 digital artists display spectacular interactive works of art designed for VR.
You can walk through this huge museum alone or in the company of other people, and chat with them through the microphone to comment on the works.
Thanks to VR it is possible to become an ant or a giant and get into the stage or fly with total freedom, to explore from different perspectives.
Take a look at the website of the Museum of Other Realities if you want to see all the works on display.
Google Earth VR
This is one of the first experiences that Google created, a few years ago, but it is so spectacular and overwhelming that it could not be missing from this list.
Imagine having the entire planet Earth at your disposal, which you can freely explore in 3D, in real size. Fly over cities, mountains or seas, and stroll through the streets thanks to Street View.
With the movement controls you turn the Earth and access any place, or you can also enjoy guided tours of the most emblematic places on the planet.
Thanks to the search engine you can easily locate any location, and add bookmarks to return later. One of the best uses of virtual reality out there. It will leave you with your mouth open.
IL DIVINO: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR
If you have the privilege of visiting the Sistine Chapel, all you will be able to see are some wonderful paintings by Michelangelo that decorate the ceilings of the Apostolic Palace … from the ground.
With IL DIVINO: Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling in VR you can get on a crane that will lift you up to the ceiling to observe each of the frescoes, a few centimeters away.
They have been recreated from a 3D scan in high definition, and you can see even the cracks and damage of the paint.
There are also more than 100 interactive points where a narrator explains what each scene means.
The Dawn of Art: The Prehistoric Caves of Chauvet
The cave paintings of the Chauvet caves, in France, with more than 36,000 years old, are considered the first representation of the art of Humanity.
They have been closed to the public for many years, but thanks to the magic of Virtue Reality we can freely roam the caves with total freedom, and we really believe we are there, because they have been scanned in high resolution 3D with the most advanced Google technology.
Even more interesting, you visit the place inside the skin of a prehistoric man (or woman), so while we walk through the cave we will meet the odd cave bear.
Being inside the Chauvet caves and observing the beautiful cave paintings from 36,000 years ago with a photorealistic image, illuminated only by the light of a torch, is an overwhelming experience.
And with the added bonus that the guided tour is narrated by Daisy Ridley, the popular Rey in the new Star Wars movies . Highly recommended, considering that it is also free.
BBC Home – A VR Spacewalk
One of the first things that most people want to do when they buy virtual reality glasses is to get into an astronaut’s suit and walk through space, or the International Space Station.
BBC Home – A VR Spacewalk is an incredible VR experience developed by the BBC where we become an astronaut from the International Space Station, who is about to take a walk around the outside of the station.
You have to complete a couple of repair missions outside the station, on a spacewalk that you will never forget. The views with the Earth in the background cause vertigo! It’s the closest thing to becoming George Clooney or Sandra Bullock in Gravity. But here everything works perfectly…
Nefertari: Journey to Eternity / Pompeii
Many virtual reality experiences are made with computer-modeled graphics. But others are based on photorealistic images captured by 3D scanners, to obtain a 3D scene that is a clone of reality, in real size.
This is the case of these two proposals that we have put together, because they are two historical adventures that no one who has a PC glasses should miss.
Nerfetari – Journey to Eternity offers us to visit, on a real scale and with free movement, the interior of the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramses II, located in the mythical Valley of the Kings. The realism of the tomb walls is so great that it will make you feel that you are really there.
Virtual reality allows us to visit places that we may never see in reality, because it is too far, too expensive, or simply because we do not have time to see everything. The difference with a video is that it brings the presence (you really feel that you are there), and the real scale of everything you see.
In Pompeii you can visit one of the houses of Pompeii, and stroll along the main street while enjoying various gardens, and the public baths.
The whole environment has been recreated in 3D using real photographs of Pompeii, so it is a very realistic experience. During the trip, a narrator explains what you see (in English).
Art Plunge is an art gallery on the Moon, displaying five of the most famous paintings in history:
- The Mona Lisa
- Van Gogh’s Starry Night
- Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
- The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
- Woman Reading a Letter, by Vermeer
The magic of the experience is that, thanks to virtual reality, you enter into the paintings, and suddenly you are in the same room as the Mona Lisa, or looking out the window that the Woman Reading a letter observes, and you can see the water canal and listen to the sound of seagulls and carriages.
The artists who created this experience, Martin Eklund and Martin Christensen, have recreated the interior of the paintings in 3D and life-size, with the same artistic style as the original artist.
It is an experience that will completely change the way you see these famous paintings. It only costs 1.59 euros, and it is definitely worth it. It is also ideal to put family and friends.