Everyone should try virtual reality, and thanks to Google Cardboard, nearly everyone can. All you need is a smartphone and one of the many Cardboard headsets available. Funny enough, some of them are actually made of cardboard, while others take on a more familiar modeling of a VR headset. But, they all share a few common traits of being affordable and easy to use.
Compared to the $599 (£499/AU$649) Oculus Rift and the $799 (around £550, AUS$1,115) HTC Vive, getting set up with a Cardboard headset will likely cost you less than $50. While Google Cardboard is in no way a direct competitor in terms of performance with the big players in VR, there’s still plenty of fun stuff to do.
Once you get your hands on (and head inside) a Google Cardboard kit, you’re going to need some apps and games. There’s a solution to every problem, and we’ve solved this one in particular just for you.
Here are the apps and games available for Google Cardboard that you need to check out. And best of all, these are all available free of charge.
Vrse is a hub for high-quality 360-degree video content. You’ll find a nice assortment of things to watch, such as experimental short films, concert events. Plus, you can step behind the scenes of some Saturday Night Live productions. New content is being added on a semi-frequent basis.
New York Times’ VR app is a must-see. You’ll find some of the publication’s material in Vrse, but only here will you find a more exhaustive list of well-produced and researched videos to watch, covering a wide variety of topics.
While we’re on the topic of 360-degree video content, it’s hard not to mention YouTube. The app offers a growing amount of immersive videos to get lost in. Here, you’ll find the zaniest ones that are sure to get a rise out of VR first-timers.
Much of what this app has to offer has little to do with VR, but there’s some fun to be had for die-hard Star Wars fans. After clicking on the “Jakku Spy” Cardboard setting, there are nine different snippets of video that you can watch, complete with full-on production value and familiar sound effects.
Tilt Brush Gallery
In case you’re unfamiliar with Tilt Brush, it allows artists (no matter the talent level) to create an artistic masterpiece in a virtual world. What the “Gallery” app allows you to do is a fit that’s perfect for Cardboard. Click on one of the options, then watch it come to life on a canvas off to the side.
Cardboard Design Lab
Google’s own app is a bit different from the others. Have you ever wondered how VR developers make their experiences fun and natural to use? Then this app is worth looking at. It breaks down the guidelines of what makes for a good VR experience into simple language and presents it in vividly designed presentation.
Chair in a Room
Now, let’s talk games, shall we? This one easily gets a vote because it starts you out in the dark with nothing but a flashlight. In case you couldn’t tell, it’s a horror game. There isn’t much to the game, but we’re positive that you’ll enjoy the suspense of being immersed, I mean, trapped in a dark room with a busted flashlight.
Voxel Fly VR
Probably the best-looking title on this list, Voxel Fly VR blends the striking, colorful aesthetic of Mirror’s Edge with a futuristic take on Frogger. The only difference being that you’re placed into a cockpit of a ship and facing a fleet of flying cars head-on. Have fun!
This game is an endless runner, of sorts, that puts you into a spacecraft with enemies hot on your tail. It’s a lot like Temple Run in that you collect boosts and other goodies to outsmart the baddies, but it’s wrapped in a futuristic style that makes this one hard to put down.
Flying through space is awesome, until you encounter the asteroid belt. In Vanguard V, tilt your way through the obstacles with a space ranger decked out in a style that calls back to Zone of the Enders.
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