Virtual reality provides escape

In this Rampage & RamTV special, take a deep dive into why virtual reality has launched into the mainstream with real stories shared from real people across the country.

Skye Canete


Daniel DeBoer

VRChat users PapaFoxxo (Pictured left), and Puck_the_Fox (Pictured right), pose for a photo following a virtual interview. VRchat is a virtual platform where users can express themselves using any kind of characters they want. “I use VR to get away from all the daily troubles after a long day,” said PapaFoxxo.

Daniel deBoer, Feature Editor

When the HTC Vive released in 2016, virtual reality became, well, reality. Many people quickly purchased the headset and launched virtual reality into the mainstream captivating people across the globe as the world discovered this new medium of gaming. Five years later VR is now as popular as ever, headset sales are through the roof and products like the Oculus Quest 2 have made the world of VR available to anyone who wishes to jump in.

So what do people use VR for? A user by the name of Puck_the_Fox on VRChat shared their personal experience.

“I wanted to try something new, I’ve always been very anti-social [and we] moved every year of my life basically. It’s kinda nice to make connections with people [and] no matter where I go I can make a connection with them and be able to find them again,” said Puck.

For most people, they use VRChat as a means to express themselves virtually and make new friends with those around them, “I’ve made loads of friends, some I would even consider family at this point, that’s how close you can get with VRChat,” said a user by the name of Strickier.

VR is easily one of the easiest and safest ways to escape your own current reality and is a significantly better alternative to using abusive substances like drugs and alcohol, “The sad thing is I know there’s a lot of people who do drugs specifically to escape reality, but [VR] is a much safer way of doing it, and it’s less illegal too. Probably the healthiest way you can escape reality,” added Strickier.

While it may seem like all fun and games, there are some things that you should watch out for. When it comes to any online social platform, exercise the same safety you would utilize on other social media platforms. Don’t give out personal information and never talk to strangers who make you uncomfortable. For VRChat specifically, make sure you have your safety settings set up in a way to avoid potential crashes from game crashers. People who go around to different worlds intentionally overloading users’ computers with graphics-intensive avatars causing game crashes.

For more information on practicing good online safety, check out this story here for a more in-depth look.

For those looking to get into VR, there are plenty of options. The Oculus Quest 2 is a great starter headset for those just looking to dip their toes into the medium, while it does have its drawbacks it provides a decent VR experience for a fraction of the cost of most headsets. If you are in the market for a computer-based headset, the Valve Index is the gold standard for PCVR experiences, though its cost is $1000 the Valve Index provides the most immersive experience, clearest visuals, highest refresh rate, best controllers, best tracking, and many more benefits. 

“I think you’re really getting your money’s worth with this, and I think the Valve Index has a bright future ahead of it,” said Strickier.

With headset sales on the rise, many manufacturers are finding it difficult to keep up with the demand, so always be on the lookout for restocks in stores and online. VR is only going to continue to become more popular and it really is an experience that immerses you like no other. If somebody offers you the chance to be able to try it out for yourself, don’t be afraid to take up that opportunity.