In a surreal near-apocalyptic scenario, most of the world population seems to be shuttered in their homes, doing their best to keep safe against an invisible enemy. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools and universities to close, and many have switched to working from home if they were fortunate enough to keep their jobs in the first place.
It’s far from ideal. In the Northern hemisphere at least, spring is in full bloom; trees are turning green, the days are increasingly warmer, and yet, depending on your country’s restrictions, none of us are allowed to enjoy it for long.
Instead, to successfully flatten the curve, we’re asked to #STAYATHOME and make the most out of the situation.
Well, if you happen to have a VR headset, that situation may not be as dire as you first thought.
There are countless ways you can use your VR gadgets to bring some fun into your quarantine days. These work regardless of whether you live alone or with a family. Here are our favorites:
1. Get Moving with VR
With a limited amount of time you can spend outside, physical activity is one of the first aspects of your life to take a hit. Every day you spend moving from your bed to your sofa to your office chair and to the bed again, and that can’t be good for your health or your fitness levels.
Why not use your VR headset for some exercise? The beauty of it is that you don’t have to use a fitness-specific app to get an effective workout. Most VR games are designed to get your whole body moving.
According to the Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise, some of the games that use up the most calories are Audioshield (10 – 13 kcal/min), Thrill of the Fight (8 – 10 kcal/min), and even the ever-popular Beat Saber with 6 – 8 kcal/min. Playing an hour of Beat Saber is like playing an hour of tennis!
2. Watch a VR Movie
Even though movie theaters are closed for the time being, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a screening of an epic blockbuster. All you need is a VR headset and a comfy seat (our recommendation is a cushy armchair or a sofa), maybe a large bowl of popcorn, and you can have a full theater experience without leaving your house.
Bigscreen VR and CineVR are good options to start if you want to see what a VR cinema looks like and what movies you can watch. (Avengers, Star Trek, and Mission Impossible sound like great choices to kick things off.)
3. Travel the World Using Your VR Headset
It’s not an exaggeration to say that hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people had to cancel their travel plans in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Experiencing Venice, Italy or going on a safari through a VR headset may not be what you originally planned, but we’re confident it will be a decent replacement.
Here are some of the best apps to get you transported into another geographical location with VR:
- Google Earth VR (New York, Tokyo, Florence – anywhere you can imagine!)
- National Geographic VR (stunning landscapes and animals)
- Realities (real-world places with magnificent stories)
4. Meet New People
If you’re self-isolating by yourself, it can get pretty lonely. Other than face-timing your friends and family and scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feeds, you can also try a VR social network.
Create your own avatar and meet people from any corner of the world who are likely going through the same thing you are at the moment. Facebook Horizon, which is still in beta, as well as VRChat and AltspaceVR, are the most popular choices where you will come across a large number of people.
5. Play VR Games
Our last suggestion for a relaxing time in quarantine to take your mind off of the current global crisis is pretty obvious – just kick back with a cool VR game. Either go for a title you’ve already invested hours into or maybe look for something new. Plenty of studios are now rushing to release their games earlier than planned so they can meet the demands of a quarantined audience. Take advantage of that!
(Psst, Half-Life: Alyx is already out. You’re welcome.)