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 The original Rift has been superseded and many of its problems apparently fixed by the HD version and the new Crystal Cove prototype, but until those are distributed or the consumer version hits,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.