Discovering the World of Virtual Reality Gaming: A Guide to VR Headsets and Games

Virtual reality was once something that was merely mentioned by science fiction works during the early 20th century, though many who wrote about it weren’t sure if it would even exist, let alone what it would look like. Now that we’re well into the 21st century, we’ve seen that virtual reality is not only real, but it’s the future. There have been many forays into virtual reality over the years, and the technology has now become affordable and portable.

You don’t have to be part of NASA and work with heavy equipment and a ton of cables for an immersive virtual reality experience anymore. Headsets and games are easily available that will give you the full experience of becoming anything that you want to be, especially in the video game realm. Let’s discover the world of virtual reality gaming, showcasing the best VR headsets and games out there.

VR Headsets

When you’re shopping for a VR headset, there are going to be several options out there, and these ones are the top in the field:

Meta Quest

First released by Meta (formerly Facebook) in 2019, the Quest got a big upgrade the next year in the form of the Quest 2, which features four infrared cameras and an RGB LCD display. Operating on the Android system, the Quest gives you access to some exclusive games including GOLF+ and Space Pirate Trainer. The Quest starts at around $400, making it one of the cheaper headset options.

Sony PlayStation VR

Sony was aware of just how powerful the PlayStation 5 was when it was released and that the console was capable of virtual reality. With that, the PlayStation VR was developed with an OLED HDR display with four outward-facing cameras. Though the library was a bit limited at first, the PSVR has grown and comes with a price tag of about $550.

Valve Index

If you want something that’s more top-of-the-line, Valve released the Index headset in 2019 and has been the king of the jungle thus far thanks to a pair of 1440×1600 LCD IPS displays and user-friendly controllers. With backward compatibility and a long list of titles to choose from, the Index is a great system, but an expensive one, at an intro price of $1,000.

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is one of the standards of virtual reality gaming after first being introduced in 2016 with a massive resolution and several iterations since then. These days, a top-end Vive can cost at least $1,400 with many saying that it’s worth the price thanks to the amazing hardware and wide game selection.

HP Reverb

Released in late 2020, the Reverb was HP’s entry into the VR market and it was an ambitious one with a 2160×2160 resolution while using the company’s own technology throughout. It’s one of the more affordable headsets, too, with an intro price of $600.

Best VR Games

Now that you have an idea of which hardware you’re going to get your hands on, it’s time to figure out which games you’ll want to add to your collection. Let’s take a look at the best ones across all VR systems:

Half-Life: Alyx

“Half-Life” is one of the most acclaimed video game series of all time, and many had been waiting for a sequel to the second game. While “Half-Life: Alyx” isn’t the direct storyline sequel, it has been named the best virtual reality game of all time. Playing as the titular character Alyx (a familiar name to the franchise’s fans), you shoot your way through the evil Combine while solving VR-based puzzles.

Beat Saber

In terms of rhythm games, there are three titans of the industry. You had the original “Guitar Hero” for the PlayStation 2, then “Rock Band” on the next-gen, then “Beat Saber” for virtual reality. Using your controllers, you hold onto two sabers and try to match the rhythm of popular songs in varying difficulties, slashing blue and red boxes in the right direction.

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

When PlayStation released its own virtual reality headset, it wanted to make sure that there was a great early entry to really showcase what the hardware could do. With that, “Astro Bot: Rescue Mission” was released in 2018 and has maintained its spot as one of the best VR games available. 

Tetris Effect

Tetris has had many iterations throughout its long history, and Tetris Effect is the most stimulating for all senses. “Tetris Effect” has been part of all consoles since its release, and that includes VR. For the most immersive experience of “Tetris Effect” including the music and visuals, VR is the way to go.

Horizon: Call of the Mountain

Sony has some great exclusive intellectual properties, and among them is the Horizon series. With two main story games released already, “Horizon: Call of the Mountain” enters the fray as the first virtual reality entry. Instead of playing as Aloy this time, though, you take on the role of Ryas, a master of archery and mountain climbing.

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