Remember This: Anamnesis Uses Oculus Rift In Clever Ways

By Graham Smith on January 24th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Seeing double? All Rift characters are secretly drunk.

If you’re one of the few people to own an Oculus Rift, there’s a 99% chance it’s one of the original devkits. That means it’ll have a low-resolution screen, head-tracking problems, and might even make you feel nauseous while you use it. That’s why Anamnesis is so clever: it’s a mystery game which treats the Rift not as a head-mounted display, but as a pair of magic goggles you look through to see extra information about the world.

The game is set in 2020 and has you tracking the “psychic residue” of other people. In practice, this lets you look at items in the environment and get a little bit of textual story from them. It’s a nice and new way to convey environmental storytelling, and makes the Rift feel like a natural part of the game world rather than a weird face-hugging box you’re supposed to pretend your character can’t feel.

I used the original Rift over a period of months, and periods of extended use did start to make me feel ill. Long before that, it also made my head feel hot and sweaty, like I was being hugged by koala bear that hadn’t showered. The original Rift has been superseded and many of its problems apparently fixed by the HD version and the new Crystal Cove prototype, but until those are distributed or the consumer version hits, Anamnesis looks like a nice way to workaround the issues. Even setting that aside, it’s a novel and interesting use for a new piece of tech.

Anamnesis is free to download from the site’s Tumblr, or just a cool thing to follow along with if you don’t have a Rift yourself.

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17 Comments »

  1. BobbyDylan says:

    It’s not a bug, It’s a feature!

  2. LionsPhil says:

    I wonder what kind of head-screws you could achieve if you showed ghosts to only the one eyeball.

    • gillod says:

      We actually toyed with a puzzle that required the player to close one eye and then the other. It was sort of neat, but also ridiculous and had no place in the game. But this format is ripe for someone to knock a really unique horror experience out of the park.

  3. KDR_11k says:

    Seems similar to one of the example uses for the Wii U’s gamepad.

    • gillod says:

      Hey KDR!,

      Do you have a link? We’re going to be posting a prefab package for Unity so other people can use the Rift swapping stuff easily.

    • Vandelay says:

      Yep, exactly my thought when I saw this. Unfortunately, it looks like Zombie U is the only one to have used it to any effect (and great effect it was too.)

      Oculus Rift looks like quite a fun toy, but I don’t really share in the enthusiasm it is getting. I can’t see it changing the way we play games or it creating new genres (the Wii U’s pad actually could, at least in console land, but no one – especially Nintendo – seems to have the guts to experiment.)

  4. Shadowcat says:

    I felt like I was playing and failing at “spot the difference” when it switched between the 2D and 3D versions of a scene. The only “psychic residue” I saw in the entire trailer was the big fat message in the final scene (but even then they didn’t show the 2D version, so I’m only assuming that’s what it was…)

    • gillod says:

      Hey Shadowcat,

      Yeah, this is a hard game to show in a trailer. We’re editing a mechanics trailer right now that more clearly shows the differences versus this kind of mood trailer above. When you play the game, the differences are quite evident. Some of them are hard to find and were purposely placed as a reward for curious players, but most of them (And I won’t spoil anything for you!) are pretty obvious.

      There’s also a great deal of reading in the game- The main story vehicle is that you play a FEMA relocation agent with no real knowledge of what happened in the apartments. When you look at things, the text you get is the agent’s narrative viewpoint. WHen you you use the Rift, you get the viewpoint (And, often, audio) of the person who used to live there. So, even when things aren’t changing, there is still plenty to see and read.

  5. Railway Rifle says:

    I was only disappointed that you don’t have anything else under the tag “the sweaty koala bear of sadness”.

    • Premium User Badge LTK says:

      There are tons of tags like that in the abyssal depths of the archive. They get used once, maybe half of the readers notice them, and then they’re lost to everyone’s memories. Someone suggested we need a ‘weird tags’ tag so they can be browsed through.

  6. v21v21v21 says:

    Seriously, is NOBODY concerned by the unexplored, unstudied possible consequences to eyesight after prolonged and repeated use of Rift? I mean, you force the eyes to focus at an image a tiny distance away from them. For hours! (it is gaming, after all) That cannot be good…

    • Cloudhead says:

      Hey v21v21v21

      Denny here from http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=131922719 . The Oculus optics focus your eyes out to infinity and it takes up 110 degrees of your view (filling most of your useable field of vision). Many optometrists can confirm that the experience is actually easier on your eyes than starring at your monitor a couple feet away from your face at a fixed distance.

    • Premium User Badge Wisq says:

      Seems like an odd article to post this on, when this is specifically a game that has you only using the Rift for a few seconds/minutes at a time.

    • jacobvandy says:

      Denny is right, you are not actually focusing your eyes on a single point right in front of your face, as if you held your palm 2 inches from your eyes. That would only be the case if it was ONE screen, but of course it’s two. Each eye gets its own image, which combine to create that illusion of a realistic virtual environment with varying depths. You actually focus your eyes to different “distances” based on what part of the scene you’re looking at. I’ve had a good bit of experience using NVIDIA’s 3D Vision, and the principle is the same as far as that goes — years of PC gaming have made me near-sighted, but playing a wide open game in 3D where I can focus my eyes at a virtual distance, actually made my eyes feel better and more sharp when I stopped and went back to looking around the real world.

      In other words, 3D is actually much BETTER for your eyes than standard flat-image gaming. Regardless of how close the screen(s) are to your face. Widespread adoption would go a ways toward curing most common eye problems associated with the hobby.

      • v21v21v21 says:

        Thank you Cloudhead and jacobvandy for your replies. They were interesting and helpful, I appreciate it. Cheers!

    • tasteful says:

      you are an example of a boring person

  7. gillod says:

    Woah! One of the Anamnesis devs here- When I decided that ‘making games’ was going to be what I wanted to do with my life (Like, for realsies, after 5 other things didn’t pan out), I seriously made “End up on RPS” a life goal. So I’m just ridiculously humbled right now. Thanks for the nice words!