“We choose to go to the moon, we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” – John F. Kennedy
Those words…that speech. Over 50 years ago they were said and yet, still hold up to this day. It has a very powerful message. One where we must not sit and wait, but one where we must have a goal, race towards that goal, and succeed in completing that goal. John F. Kennedy back in 1969 was referring to one very special mission. A mission that the United States raced to be the first ones on the moon. Three brave souls Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin crewed the Apollo 11. It was a time of excitement, fear, curiosity, and dedication. And yet even after that mission, almost 50 years ago, those feelings are very well represented in Apollo 11 VR from Immersive VR Education for the Playstation VR.
The Apollo 11 mission is about a time where the United States was not the first in space, but the first to land on the moon. A goal that we were not going to be set back…be held back, but reach out and try to touch the stars. Apollo 11 VR is the recreation of that mission that took place from July 16th, 1969 – July 24th, 1969.
Impressive does not even do Apollo 11 VR justice. When you first start and you hear John F. Kennedy give his speech the immersion has already begun. You start out in your house and seeing the speech as it happens right in front of you playing from a projector. Then as you look around and to your left, you see in a perfect recreation of the 1960’s ball or some called them egg chairs with a TV of the same speech being played. Simply hit X and you can now be in the chair. It is these small add-ins that didn’t have to be added in. Once you are in the chair, feel free to lean and look around, see where you were sitting, look at the projector to the door to even the lava lamp right next to you, all this just adds to the immersion and we have not even gotten into space yet.
But from the speech of President John F. Kennedy to hearing the Astronauts of Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins, and Neil Armstrong talk and communicate, I felt like I was right there. From the take-off from Earth and you can hear the engines going and then when the rumble of the Dualshock 4 intensifies in your hands…all I can say is wow.
But is Apollo 11 VR a game or an experience? Well, it can be both. When you start you are given the option of taking the cinematic approach and just relax or the interactive approach. The cinematic approach is just like it sounds, you just sit and relax and go on the journey. The interactive approach is just like the cinematic approach, but you do get to use the Dualshock 4 controller for the Docking Sequence, Flight Trajectory, and Deploy Experiments. I went with the interactive approach first and Immersive VR Education nailed it here by adding this interaction.
To give you the experience of what it would be like to use the right amount of fuel and speed as you dock to trying to land on the moon. My first few attempts at trying to land I overshot the mark. Then I tried to get creative and do flips as I tried to land…yep this is what would happen if I had control. So yes your skills will have to be spot on here. You will need to have some patience as you attempt to complete these missions. But this is the Apollo 11 mission. At that time, many things were untested and not simple, so why should these missions be? Afterward, you are graded and the communication between the astronauts and ground control based on what you did was really amazing. I felt bad that we had to tell Houston that maybe we did use too much fuel. So thank you Immersive VR Education for showing me the ways.
But lets put the missions aside for a moment. I want to say this and now. The beauty of space and how it is represented here is truly breathtaking. Just being able to get the sense of what it would actually be like in space, to see the Earth and from this view to see how fragile it really is. As I was experiencing this, I had this moment so something that happened 20 years or so after the fact of part of a speech that was said:
“And more secure for you and your children. I couldn’t help with one point in our discussions privately with general secretary Gorbichov when you stop to think that we’re all gods children where ever we may live in the world I couldn’t help but say to him just think how easy his task in mind might be in these meetings that we held if suddenly there was a threat to this world from some other species from another planet outside in the universe. Wed forget all the little differences we have between our countries and we would find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this Earth together.”
The differences we have, how little they would be. How we are really are all human beings here on Earth…together. This was even truer seeing the Earth and the presentation of it all.
When you finally get on the Moon, the small amount of detail from the craters to the stars are all well represented here. Being able to move along the moon pretty awesome. I really like how everything is represented here. When you see the flag, you can get up and close and learn some history of that mission. And when you come across the other astronaut the way the lighting hits the moon and the helmet, it really shows you the dedication, time, and heart that went into Apollo 11 VR.
And while you are busy on the moon, feel free to explore. You just might something very impressive that Immersive VR Education has done here that I will not spoil. But it’s this type of appreciation that not only do they show, but you experience that makes Apollo 11 VR the mission you need to go on.
Somehow Immersive VR Education has created this type of documentary that we can all be a part of. It is amazing how they have turned this part of history and allowed us to step up and make that one giant leap. From the take-off to the detail of the buttons and controls inside the spacecraft to even the re-entry back to Earth to the sounds, I wanted to touch the buttons, I wanted to do more. That is the only thing I can say that I was a little sad about. I wanted more interaction. I wanted to push and flip the buttons, I wanted to talk with Houston, I wanted to do more stuff on the moon. But I understand why we can’t, I really do. But that doesn’t change the fact that when Immersion this good is present, other parts of you want to be included.
But this is what Immersive VR Education does…you learn by experience. And this is why I love Virtual Reality. To bring you to places you cannot normally go to. To take you on that journey, to bring you to the immersion and the immersion to you. And isn’t this why we allow ourselves to go on that journey, to take us on that one giant leap?
Apollo 11 VR is out now on PlayStation VR and is also available on Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift/S, Oculus Go, Gear VR on the Oculus Store, Steam, Viveport, and Daydream on the Google Play Store. A review copy was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am just going to go and enjoy the view.