Want to know what John Carmack thinks about the games you can play now in VR? Back in 2015, the Oculus Chief Technology Officer sat down and played the first batch of Gear VR titles, and wrote detailed public critiques of each one. These were initially for the developers’ eyes only, but Oculus has now published them on its blog, to give everybody a bit of insight into what’s gone on behind the scenes.
Nighttime Terror (May 6, 2015)
This is a well-executed project, with everything competently done.
Dreadhalls (May 18, 2015)
Some of the scares are just perfect – walking along, see a table off to the side, turn to pick up loot, turn back to carry on, and *JESUS CHRIST*!!!
Playhead (June 12, 2015)
This is a short, free audio experience that was one of the first apps available for Gear VR.
Omega Agent (July 29, 2015)
This is my favorite Gear VR game, but you need a strong stomach to enjoy it.
Bazaar (November 26, 2015)
Going with stylized, rather simple visuals and keeping it clean has been a good strategy for several VR games.
Viral (December 23, 2015)
I had a great time playing past the third boss fight for this critique.
While these critiques are all remarkably insightful (what else do you expect from Carmack?), they’re also pretty heavy on the technical elements (again, what else do you expect?). That said, if you’re considering developing for virtual reality, Carmack touches on all manner of “dos and don’ts” for the medium. He covers graphical fidelity, user experience, and even recommends that one game include more backstory and lore (hello, Bazaar!).
Each of these six games is available now – all for GearVR and many also for Oculus Rift and Vive. Remember, these critiques were requested by the developer, and are almost all relating to earlier versions of the game. More recent updates may have addressed items noted in Carmack’s posts.