VR is a hobby I only got into recently. A coworker let me borrow an Oculus Quest (1) in Summer, 2020 for a few weeks and I was completely enamored. Though I did not play a lot of games before VR (the most I ever invested into a series was Pokémon Snap for the Nintendo 64) those first few weeks I was playing all sorts of different games and genres. A few months later once Quest 2 was announced I bought the headset outright and have never looked back.

On my Quest, you can bootleg games into the HMD itself (the Quest is meant to be a standalone platform anyhow) and people have modded classic games like Doom and Half-Life 1 to be playable on the Quest. In particular, I played Dr. Beef's Lambda 1 VR mod for Half-Life 1 all the way through. This was the first game I'd ever played on a headset and, to say the least, it set me up to deal with sim sickness extremely well. The game is jarring to play in VR, especially if you've played in on desktop before like I had, because you're immediately transported into and immersed in all these familiar rooms, surrounded by scientists and security officers and fast-moving HECU enemies... around every corner it seems is some zombie ready to scare the hell out of you; because the game was meant to spook desktop players being in a close-quarters encounter with these hideous enemies and aliens is absolutely terrifying.

The physics of HL:1 are probably the most likely to induce motion-sickness of any game I've ever played in VR. From the falling and jumping to the puzzles and weapon physics, this game is not very friendly to beginners in VR but somehow I was able to make it all the way through the story. I remember in vivid detail being launched up into the air by a fan and falling over on my side in my living room in real life. I have not yet played Half Life: Blue Shift or Opposing Force but they are also supposedly playable in this mod as well and I look forward to that opportunity to play with this game some more.

Another game I gravitated towards immediately was BallisticNG, a futuristic zero-g racing sim in the style of WipEout, another title from my childhood which I played on my N64. Though you can play BNG purely on desktop, being immersed in the cockpit of the vehicle and watching every turn fly by and the enemy ships slipping through the air around you is a mesmerizing sensation. Not to mention that everything is coming at you at several hundred kilometers per hour. It's an insanely fun, extremely fast game that feels, especially in VR, like a more immersive WipEout HD. I'm not nearly as good at BNG as I am at WipEout (maybe the bar in HD is lower) but this game is so so much fun at any skill level.

One last game I'll call out is Garry's Mod, a game over 15 years old and not designed with VR in mind at all. Recently (around 2019 I think) a mod for Garry's Mod was developed by Catse called VRMod and it's the most perfect thing we will get until Garry's Mod in Source 2. Essentially it adds VR capability into GMod, allowing a sandbox player to wear a headset and manipulate the world around them using typical Garry's Mod weapons and tools. This is one of the most impressive mods for Garry's Mod and it is a mod I often cite when arguing that games with a healthy modding ecosystem and receptive development teams often produce the most novel and amazing experiences, far beyond what the game ever intended to achieve in the first place. Hell, you can even play Half Life: 2 in Garry's Mod, and with VRMod you can even play all that in VR!

I anticipate that a VR-only game which offers extensibility and modding tools like those offered in GMod will produce really amazing things; there is almost no limit to what you can do in Garry's Mod and VRMod really showcases that freedom to extend and build on the original game.

[... more stuff to come here]