Virtual SmartNews Party Report

If you ever need blackmail material on your coworkers, just strap them into an HMD (head-mounted display) and start taking videos of their silly faces when they step inside a virtual world.

Last Friday, we hosted our first SmartNews SF tech happy hour, complete with an epic Tron soundtrack, a Microsoft HoloLens, an HTC Vive, sliders, beer and fries. As one of the first of the team to test-drive the headsets, I found myself immersed in a virtual-reality setting eerily similar to the one found in The Martian, surrounded by an endless desert. With a 360° view of the world around me, I completely lost touch with the real world. As I bent over to pick up a holographic cup, I bumped, headset first, into a very real and solid chair.

Wings and things

Wings and things

Other games included virtual pool (infinitely more difficult without a physical table to rest a cue on), target shooting and a zombie-apocalypse-meets-Harry-Potter quest for survival.

A collision waiting to happen as Takeshi prepares to hit Naoki, the eight ball

A collision waiting to happen as Takeshi prepares to hit Naoki, the eight ball

The crowd-pleaser, however, was the HoloLens augmented-reality headset. Imagine Pokemon Go on steroidswith robots…

In RoboRaid, scorpions are pouring through a hyper-realistic (virtual) hole in our (actual) office wall, shooting (virtual) ninja stars and missiles at you. To destroy these creatures and complete the mission, you must blast them with grenades by rapidly pinching the air in front of you to fire.

To infinity...and beyond!

To infinity…and beyond!

All this virtual pinching made for some seriously hilarious videos of our team dodging shrapnel and yelling into empty air, but we’ll save that for a later time. 😉


by Jessica Wang, Content and Community