A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everest VR is a shortened downloadable simulation of what it's like to climb Mount Everest. Most of your time is spent being scared that you're going to fall to your death (you won't). There's no blood, gore, or any naughty language, and while the narrator does talk about how people have died trying to make this climb, he keeps the gruesome details to himself. It also uses some of the standard VR controls for the HTC Vive, although some of these don't work as well as they should. Note: VR hardware is currently promoted for age 13 and up due to the differences in kids' and adults' eyes. All VR headsets are designed for adult-sized faces and heads.
What's it about?
In EVEREST VR, you climb to the top of Mount Everest, while learning about the geography, what goes into climbing such a tall mountain, and the history of the people who attempted this trek. While you do interact with some Sherpas, there's no real story -- it's just you and the mountain. Players will have to use the HTC Vive, its controllers, and their space at home to navigate around the virtual mountain to help them make the climb.
Is it any good?
Though not really a practical simulation, this virtual reality experience does, at times, make you feel like you're high atop the mountain. After learning how to use the game's controls -- which are fairly standard for VR but still new to most people -- you'll go on a virtual tour up the mountain. This not only involves navigating some rather narrow cliffs but also walking across a ladder that's been precariously placed over a small ravine. It's during the latter instance, and similar moments, that this short but sweet experience really shines. When crossing that makeshift bridge or flying over the mountain as a narrator delves into the history of people who've climbed Everest, you really will feel like you could plummet to your death. (Though you can't. Trust me, I tried. Walked right off a ledge and everything.)
But while there are times when it works well, there are others where it comes up short. Climbing a ladder, which you do by moving your hands up and down, doesn't feel real. Also, while this looks amazingly realistic when you're looking at the beautiful vistas, examining anything up close is a quick reminder that this is more virtual than reality. It's also rather short (only about 45 minutes from base camp to the top), and there's no reason to make the climb twice, which makes it a bit pricey. Still, for those curious about the mountain or what it's like climbing it, Everest VR will kind of make you feel as if you've gone where few people have gone before and survived to tell the tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mountain climbing. Does playing this simulation make you want to climb a mountain? Or at least get some exercise?
Talk about patience and proper planning. Climbing Mount Everest, as you now know, involved a lot of patience and planning, so what could you do to be more patient and better at planning?
Discuss virtual reality. How did this make you feel when you were flying over the mountain? Did you ever forget, even for an instant, that you were in the living room?
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