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From horror fests to shoot-’em-ups, here are the 20 best Oculus Rift games

The Oculus Rift had a tough go of it out of the gate. Delayed shipments and a sparse library of games made its first six months on the market rocky, to say the least. Then, in late 2016, the delayed Oculus Touch controllers arrived, upping the impressiveness of most games by giving players full motion control with each hand.

Now, well into its second year of life, the Oculus Rift continues to impress with a steady stream of solid experiences. From first-person shooters to frightful psychological horror games to quirky puzzlers to co-op games, the platform has something for everyone. We’ve combed through its library to compile the best Oculus Rift games available on the VR headset today.

Lone Echo

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Numerous VR experiences have attempted to capture the feeling of floating in space, but the Oculus exclusive title Lone Echo is the only one to do it in a way that feels accurate.

In reality, most of your actions involve simple maintenance fixes to a space station, but through the excellent Oculus Touch controllers, all of your movements have an immersion to them that few VR games have been able to replicate thus far. With a strong sci-fi story and a wonderfully realized space setting, Lone Echo‘s several hours of play are the best way to visit space from your living room. Amazon

Wilson’s Heart

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One of the more ambitious Oculus Rift games to date, Wilson’s Heart serves up psychological horror through the immersive experience of VR.

Set in the 1940s, the game follows hospital patient Robert Wilson, who wakes up only to realize that his heart has been replaced by a perplexing device. You play as Wilson, but you’re not the only one with disturbing woes. As you make your way down spooky, tight corridors, you’ll meet an eccentric cast of characters, all of whom want to find out how and why they have been poked and prodded by the dastardly hospital staff.

Full of jump scares and eerie realizations, Wilson’s Heart makes great use of the Touch controllers to get you into the thick of its mind-altering horrors. Amazon

Superhot VR

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Conceived as an alternate expression of experimental first-person shooter Superhot, Superhot VR adapts the stop-motion mechanic to your arms as you wield Oculus Touch controllers. When you move your hands around, the bullets rain in from enemies, but if you stop to consider your next move, you’ll receive a welcome bullet remission.

The goal remains the same — to advance to the exit in each room — but in VR, the intensity is amplified. Dismembering foes in VR will get your blood pumping. You must move your hands methodically to succeed, but Superhot VR‘s ingenious design makes it a constant delight.

Amazon

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives

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A testament to how VR excels at turning menial tasks into engaging, even sometimes transformative experiences, Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives pretty much plays as advertised. Yet, the mundane becomes fascinating in VR. Who would have thought?

The year is 2050, and humans have automated every job. To spice up your unburdened human life, you can now use a VR headset to simulate what “honest work” was all about. You can ring up chips and drinks as a convenience store clerk, fix cars as a mechanic, man the griddle as a short-order cook, or process paperwork as a run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 office worker.

Of course, this is what robots thought work was like, so it may be different and much funnier than you remember. Amazon

The Unspoken

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This is the closest you can get to being a wizard at home. Oculus exclusive The Unspoken from heralded developer Insomniac Games does an exceedingly impressive job of making you feel like you’re doing a lot of wizarding work without demanding much of you. The Unspoken is an urban fantasy filled with customizable wizards and spell casters, and you just happen to be one of them.

The wide array of spells deployed via Oculus Touch controllers almost feel as if they are truly being guided from your fingertips. There’s some exploration here and a dreary game world, but the meat of the experience comes from the duels that help you advance through the ranks of a wizard fight club. Unlike the fight club you’re thinking of, it’s okay to talk about this one.

We recommend you play it, too. Amazon

Star Trek: Bridge Crew

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Quite possibly the best multiplayer VR experience to date, Star Trek: Bridge Crew lets users play out their childhood fantasies of joining the likes of James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, Hikaru Sulu, and Pavel Chekov as a member of a Starfleet crew.

Players work in teams of four, with each person in one of four roles — pilot, engineer, tactician, or captain. Each job — best acted out with an Oculus Touch controller, but playable with an Xbox One controller — asks players to tinker with a computer panel. Bridge Crew excels as a cooperative game due to the need to work together to find success. It really does feel like you’re living inside an episode of Star Trek.

Simply put, if you have a group to play with, Bridge Crew should be at the top of your wish list. Amazon

Robo Recall

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Originally designed as a pack-in game for the Oculus Touch controllers, Robo Recall is a frantic shoot-em-up designed to make it easy for you to look cool while blowing robots to bits. You play as Agent 34 of the robot manufacturing company RoboReady.

Your job at the company is to remove defective units from the production line, but a virus has turned the robots against their creators, and now you must take them out. While Robo Recall boils down to a series of timed shooting galleries, it’s much more interesting than your average on rails FPS. You can pick up enemies and fling them into other robots with a swipe of your hand, and you can even catch bullets in the air and whirl them back to turn the infected robots into nothing more than a pile of parts. Robo Recall shows off the brilliance of the Oculus Touch controllers.

Best of all, it’s free-to-play. Oculus

Arizona Sunshine

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One of the only full-fledged first person shooters available in VR, Arizona Sunshine drops you into the smoldering heat of an American Southwest that is currently littered with zombies. Using the Oculus Touch, you can aim, shoot, and reload dozens of weapons.

More open than other shooters in VR, Arizona Sunshine has a campaign mode that lets players explore the deserts and caves in search of an escape. After the campaign is finished, there are both single- and multiplayer horde modes, which force you to fight off hordes of the undead. Arizona Sunshine is a fast-paced gore-fest filled with bloodied, hungry zombies. It’s slick and demonstrates how the Oculus Rift can deliver complete packages with multiple game modes.

Amazon

Chronos

For people used to playing traditional video games and looking to ease into the world of VR, Chronos is a great option. An easy comparison is Dark Souls. It’s a game full of pitched sword duels in which you have to carefully land blows and defend against the attacks of your foes to stay alive. Chronos eschews the usual VR approach of the first-person viewpoint — in which you see the game through the eyes of the character you’re playing as — in favor of the third-person view, where you watch and control the action from a separate perspective, much like a camera recording an event. Oculus

Edge of Nowhere

Insomniac Games took a stab at doing horror in virtual reality in a way that’s different from nearly every other game of that genre on the platform.

Rather than go the usual route, using a first-person perspective that has you playing as if you’re in the shoes (and seeing through the eyes) of the protagonist, it puts the camera behind the main character, just like in Chronos.

The result is a more psychological, stealthy take on horror. Edge of Nowhere is another of those VR games that feels like it could easily exist as a more traditional game, but it does some experimentation with the platform to find new ways to scare players.

Oculus

Here is everything we know so far about ‘Westworld’ season 2

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With Westworld heading into season 2, HBO is building hype for the show’s already much-anticipated return. We’re stuck in a waiting period until April, but in the meantime, the network is making it possible for a number of lucky fans to hunt for clues during an immersive experience, as discussed below. The second season will continue the often-twisted, always-intriguing story inspired by novelist Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name.

Season 2 will return viewers to the complex fantasy sci-fi world that features artificially intelligent robots who, as it turns out, don’t always do their job of letting the human guests fulfill their fantasies. Read on for everything we know so far about Westworld season 2, and be prepared: Spoilers lie ahead.

A Westworld experience

HBO has quite the plan to celebrate Westworld at the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas, in March. The network announced February 21 that it is building an actual park based on the show that will be open to visitors from March 9 to March 11.

The park is more than two acres in size, and it will feature locations like the Coronado hotel and the Mariposa Saloon. There will even be actors playing “hosts” that visitors can interact with throughout their visit.

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Perhaps the most exciting part of the entire experience is the fact that it offers season 2 clues. Visitors will be able to look for them as they go through the different parts of the park, and they will be able to try to uncover others in their conversations with hosts.

Let’s hope they share whatever they discover. The experience lasts about two hours, and keeping with the theme, visitors will be taken to and from the site in a Delos shuttle. There is, unfortunately, a limited number of slots available.

HBO made half of them available online at the website DiscoverWestworld.com, and they filled up quickly. However, more will open up during SXSW.

A secret website and new parks

The Westworld Super Bowl trailer was more than just a good ad; it contained at least one huge clue for the truly observant and clever. At the 33-second-mark, there are white bars above one of the android bulls, and as Redditor Askin1 discovered, you can read it in binary code and translate it to 52.89.126.34.

When you enter that in a browser bar, you’ll find yourself at the website DelosDestinations.com. The secret website is for the fictional company that owns Westworld — and five other parks.

A total of six parks is more than we expected, but we did know there would be more. The existence of at least one other park, Samurai World, came up in Season 1, and in the movie Westworld, there were two others, Roman World and Medieval World.

In fact, when asked about them, the series’ creators hinted that we could see them in Season 2 (we discuss that further below). With the website revealing six parks, it looks like the scale of the series could be even bigger than we imagined, which is exciting. New worlds would open up all kinds of possibilities, giving the show room to grow, not to mention run for numerous seasons.

So far, information about these other parks is sparse. The Delos Destinations website has plenty of information about Westworld, but Park 2 (presumably Samurai World) features a blurry image and Parks 3-6 say that reservations are “closed to the public.” Still, its worth poking around the site. Who knows what other clues are hiding?

A super trailer and premiere date

HBO made a big event even bigger when it debuted a new trailer for season 2 of Westworld during Super Bowl 2018.

It also revealed the premiere date for the much-anticipated season. Fans of the series will want to mark their calendars: The dark sci-fi series returns to HBO with a new season at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, April 22.

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The Super Bowl trailer for Westworld was directed by series co-creator Jonathan Nolan and is set to a cover of Kanye West’s Runaway performed by series composer Ramin Djawadi.

A blast from the past

Although Westworld star Jimmi Simpson previously confirmed that he will be in season 2, reprising his role as William, the young Man in Black, not everyone was in the know.

During the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, January 9, a reporter asked him if he would return, and he was surprised to hear the question. The confusion made him tight-lipped.

Jimmi Simpson as William “I thought it was already a thing,” he said, according to The Wrap. “But now that you’re asking me, I’m gonna shut up.”

He didn’t exactly shut up, though. Instead, he confirmed that yes, he will “pop in” to show us more of the Man in Black’s past. He then delved into areas of the character that he wishes Westworld would show.

“I wish there was exploration between the time when William’s heart is broken and we see the result. I’ll say that,” he said. “I want to know how much it takes and how hard he tried not to go there.” Ahem, Westworld writers, please take note, because that does sound interesting.

Production halted due to wildfires

Wildfires in Southern California have resulted in production of the latest season being halted, according to a statement from HBO. “Due to nearby wildfires,” notes the network, “Westworld stopped production earlier today and will resume filming as soon as it’s safe to do so.” Filming for the series’ second season takes place near Santa Clarita, where the Rye fire is currently situated.

Several other fires are ongoing in the state as well, including the Thomas fire in Ventura County and Creek fire in nearby Sylmar. Production should resume once the fires have been put out, though the Santa Ana winds are making that difficult.

New season, new parks

The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) If you thought the wild west park was Westworld’s only fantasy-fueled funhouse, think again.

In season 2, we expect to be introduced to three new worlds — but maybe more. In addition to Samurai World, hints of which were teased in the season 1 finale, the series’ showrunners, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, made comments in October teasing additional worlds. When asked specifically about why Roman World and Medieval World weren’t a part of season 1 at a panel, Nolan responded, “We had to save something for season 2.”

In the film, these parks are also owned by Westworld creator Delos and also enable people to live out their fantasies. They should make for interesting new backdrops for the story as it continues to unfold.

The (young) Man in Black is back

We didn’t get confirmation that William (Simpson), the young version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris), would be back when he appeared at San Diego Comic-Con 2017, but the actor finally made the news official on July 30. Responding to a fan on Twitter, he wrote, “Yessir, William will be black.

I mean back.”

Yessir, William will be black. I mean back. — Jimmi Simpson (@jimmisimpson) July 30, 2017

While internet forums had long speculated, it took until the season 1 finale for Westworld to reveal that William was indeed the park visitor who became the Man in Black.

However, fans were left with plenty of unanswered questions regarding his character’s evolution. With Simpson returning, it looks like we’ll start to get additional pieces of the puzzle. In fact, Simpson dropped hints along those lines during Comic-Con, indicating that Nolan and Joy plan to delve further into the intriguing character’s backstory, as reported by Westworld Watchers.

The bloodshed has already begun

HBO gave us a first look at Westworld season 2 during San Diego Comic-Con in July, teasing — yes, you guessed it — a lot of gore.

There is plenty of blood in the preview, from Maeve (Thandi Newton) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) finding corpses inside Delos to Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden) gunning down guests on the open plains.

#ICYMI: Watch the first #Westworld Season 2 trailer returning in 2018. pic.twitter.com/KzOVeFB5zu — Westworld (@WestworldHBO) July 24, 2017

We all-but knew season 2 was going to usher in further brutality, but the preview confirmed the direction we are headed.

A host gets a bigger (and deadlier) role

It’s no surprise the death toll at Westworld is poised to grow, and after the bloody events of the season 1 finale, it sounds like we’ll see at least one lesser-known host get involved in the upcoming violence. That character is Angela, the host who has long greeted the park’s visitors.

The actress who portrays her, Talulah Riley, has been promoted to series regular for season 2, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Angela (Talulah Riley) As a source indicated, the “host whose beatific face welcomed guests to Westworld for decades,” will get a darker role in season 2: “Angela will prove to be one of the last faces many guests will ever see.” That sounds appropriately ominous.

An unsurprising renewal

The official confirmation for Westworld season 2 came in November after just seven episodes had aired, but the news was hardly surprising.

Not only had the show been drawing positive reviews from critics, viewership was extremely strong, ultimately topping even the debut season of HBO’s current ratings behemoth, Game of Thrones. The renewal did come with somewhat bad news, though, namely that Westworld fans would have to wait till 2018 for season 2. Although we’re still in for several months of waiting, it’ll all be worth it if the show’s second season can live up to its debut.

Updated February 22: We added information about the Westworld experience for SXSW.

Editors’ Recommendations

Watch this inflatable robot slither around Harvard using artificial snakeskin

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We’ve covered some cool crawling snake robots before here at Digital Trends, but most of these differ from real-life serpents in one crucial way: They don’t have scaly skin. While that might sound like a matter of aesthetics more than practicality, in fact, a snake’s skin plays a crucial role in helping them crawl about; enabling them to grip onto surfaces to gain the necessary friction to move forward. That is something that researchers at Harvard University are aiming to set straight and they are turning to the ancient Japanese paper cutting art of kirigami to help them.

The resulting laser-cut material is a low-cost textured skin, designed to help robots better maneuver on rough surfaces. “Although bio-inspired soft machines made of highly deformable materials are enabling a variety of innovative applications, their locomotion typically requires several actuators that are independently activated,” Katia Bertoldi, professor of Applied Mechanics at Harvard, told Digital Trends. “In this work, we harness kirigami principles to significantly enhance their ability to crawl. We [designed] highly stretchable kirigami surfaces comprising periodic arrays of cuts and exploit mechanical instabilities to induce a transformation from flat sheets to 3D-textured surfaces akin to the scaled snakeskin.”

By wrapping their artificial scaly skin around simple tube-like robots containing air-powered actuators, the researchers found that there was a dramatic change in their frictional properties, giving the robot-enhanced crawling capabilities. Inflating the actuator caused the snake robot to move forward by popping up the scales so that they gripped the ground. Deflating the actuator flattened the scales, which anchored the robot so that it didn’t slide backward.

By carrying out a continuous inflation and deflation, the snake robot was able to slither forward like … well, a snake. Interestingly, the team discovered that switching between different shapes of the scales — such as triangular, circular, trapezoidal or linear — changed the speed and the efficiency of the crawling action. “We believe that our kirigami-based strategy opens avenues for the design of a new class of soft crawlers that can travel across complex environments for search and rescue, exploration and inspection operations, environmental monitoring and medical procedures,” Bertoldi continued.

She said that there are no current plans for commercialization of the technology, although the team does plan to continue developing it.

Future steps will involve applying the principles to different types of soft actuators, such as those based on dielectric elastomers and shape memory alloys, as well as using kirigami skins to explore and enhance other types of motions.

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal Science Robotics.

Editors’ Recommendations

(in)Secure

Cyber security has rapidly evolved from a minor concern to a serious problem. Breaches routinely expose our personal data, making it hard to know what and who we can trust. Even governments are frequently victims, and perpetrators, of major hacks.

The news breaks so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep track of it all. (in)Secure, a weekly column, follows the trends, and screw-ups, you need to know about.

We’ll touch on topics ranging from the laws behind cyber security, to the latest major breaches, to new methods that can help keep your data safe or, at least, minimize the damage.

The beefy Denon AVR-X4300H 9.2-channel AV receiver is now $499 off on Amazon

Setting up your own home theater is no small task: You need a set of speakers (at least five), a subwoofer or two, some sort of HD display such as a TV or projector, and plenty of audio and video cables. The central component that holds it all together is the mighty AV receiver, and it doesn’t get much mightier than the Denon AVR-X4300H 9.2-channel 4K receiver. If you’re looking to build a high-end home theater system, you can now score this excellent unit from Amazon for almost 50 percent off.

The Denon AVR-X4300H is a 9.2-channel receiver, meaning that it can power a large surround sound setup with up to nine speakers and two subwoofers for a truly cinematic audio experience. The receiver supports the latest Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround sound standards, and features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity as well as HEOS integration for wide compatibility with popular streaming services. This wireless capability and HEOS technology also make it easy to set up a multiroom sound system, allowing you to project separate audio streams into other parts of your home.

The AVR-X4300H boasts all of the video capabilities you’d expect in a high-end AV receiver, such as support for 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) so you can enjoy all of your shows, movies, and games in true Ultra HD. Legacy video can be upscaled to 4K as well, preventing your older movies and shows from looking too pixelated or stretched out on modern big-screen Ultra HD TVs. The Denon AVR-X4300H 9.2-channel AV receiver retails for £1,499 – a hefty price tag for what is no doubt one of the best receivers on the market — but a generous 33 percent discount on Amazon means you can score this bad boy for just £1000 for a limited time.

This saves you a whopping £499 on a premium home theater hub, putting some serious cash back in your pocket that you can put towards the rest of your setup. Amazon Looking for more great deals on home theater equipment and other electronics?

Check out our curated deals page to score some extra savings on our favorite tech.

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Editors’ Recommendations