“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” -Arthur C. Clarke
This last weekend, the Pittsburgh Stack linked up with the local Wounded Warrior Project office to show another round of its alumnae the magic of the Oculus Rift virtual headset. The office had the most number of its alum come out to one of our events to date, sporting several people driving multiple hours just to get their hands on the latest and greatest in what technology has to offer to the gaming world.
On top of that, thanks to our friends at GAEMS, we had our Xbox Ones and mobile gaming cases set up so folks could play games they were more accustomed to playing. Honestly, we didn’t think people would even want to play normal games with the Rift demo stations up and active, but a lot of the veterans felt comfortable just sitting down and playing a round of Titanfall 2 or Gears of War 4 with each other. It was more an experience they were used to and felt relaxed in doing so.
The longest drive out was the two-and-a-half hour trip by this boyfriend and girlfriend couple. The volunteers kept asking if she was interested in trying out the Rift headset, and she firmly planted her feet and claimed that she wasn’t a gamer and didn’t play video games. Then, her boyfriend got into the Rift, and he had an amazing time. So he tried again, “Honey, you have to try this thing, it’s amazing!” She again, staunchly claimed she wasn’t a gamer and didn’t want to try it. Eventually, as the night wore on, we got her into the Rift, and guess who wouldn’t get out of the headset? She spent a full hour trying to desperately figure out the “James Bond” simulator puzzle game, I Expect You To Die, ironically from Pittsburgh game dev studio, Schell Games.
Overall, the alumni had a wonderful time, eating pizza and wings, sharing stories of their time in service; we actually found out that George, a Marine cook, accidentally found himself in the impact zone for Myron, a Marine artilleryman, who almost launched shells at him during an exercise because George and his unit were in the wrong place! Nothing like a little near-death friendly fire experience to give everyone a good chuckle.
We also recruited two new Stack team members into our ranks, JP and Joshua (Furdiddy), here is a shot of team lead Marley giving them their official Redshirts!
As always, as we were breaking everything down at the end of the night, our Wounded Warrior coordinator had his calendar out and was already asking if we could come back again in early June for another event, to which we responded: of course!