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I acted like a reckless, immortal idiot in VR for a week — here’s what happened

Oculus Quest 2 review
Seeking an adrenaline rush on the Oculus Quest 2 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The pure chaos, lawlessness and anarchy of virtual reality (VR) makes it an attractive realm for daredevils at heart who are too chicken to “YOLO” in real life. “Who’s going to stop me?” becomes your motto as you realize there are no fines, prisons or authoritative figures to wag their judgy fingers at you. As a cherry on top, you’re immortal and invincible in VR — you can’t die!

If you want to climb a 1,500-foot cliff and dive off it like a thrill-seeking maniac, you can do that. If you want to participate in a violent, 10-person brawl — punching and slapping people with no rhyme or reason — you can do that, too. If real-life roller coasters bore you because they’re far too safe, VR has tons of death-defying thrill rides that will impel your heart to sink down into your butt.

I, of course, would never do any of these stupid, foolish things in real life; my sound judgment and good sense prevent me from doing anything irrational and self-destructive. However, in virtual reality, my idiocy can run rampant, free of consequences, injury, and most importantly, death and eternal damnation. Woot!

Hoping to find the ultimate adrenaline rush, I ran wild in the VR world, diving into some of the most dangerous (well, “dangerous”) if attempted in the real world), wackiest adventures via my Oculus Quest 2 — here’s the madness that ensued.

Day one: I jumped off a ridiculously tall wall-climbing structure 

I was ready to begin my wild VR rampage by diving off the tallest structure inside TestingParkourVR2, a massive wall-climbing world inside Rec Room (think Roblox, but more VR-focused).

Rec Room

Rec Room (Image credit: Rec Room)

I, however, underestimated how tall these structures are, and by extension, miscalculated how long it would take me to climb one of them. After spending 25 minutes gripping handhold after handhold, I looked up to see if I was near the peak. Instead, it seemed as if the wall disappeared into the endless sky — there was no end in sight. “It never ends!” I said exhaustedly.

I watched other players prematurely plummet to the ground after making accidental missteps, and the worst part is, they can’t respawn from a checkpoint. Imagine this: you’re painstakingly climbing a wall, your back is aching, your arms are in agony, you’re sweating (surprisingly, VR wall climbing is physically demanding), you’re halfway there, but then suddenly, you lose your grip and balance, and fall to the ground. Ouch! All that work for nothing. I didn’t want to be in their shoes, so I was meticulous with every step.

After another 10 minutes of climbing, I had to take a short break. TheTestingParkourVR2 room is far from scenic with its cartoonish atmosphere, but there was something heartwarming about seeing a sun shine brightly as I got closer to the peak. Finally, after a grueling 45 minutes — and I mean grueling — I made it to the pinnacle of the tallest structure in the room. I’m not exaggerating when I say this wall likely surpasses Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in height. I expected my first round of VR shenanigans to be a lot less backbreaking and more disorderly and rowdy, but hey, I’m new to this risk-taking stuff — cut me some slack.

GIF of wall climbing

Wall climbing in Rec Room (Image credit: Rec Room)

What was at the top? A diving board. It was as if the Rec Room crew knew I was coming and rolled out a red carpet of props for me to accomplish my mission: doing stupid sh** in VR. However, the moment I looked down, I started hyperventilating. “That is a very, very, very long way down,” I said to myself. While I spent about a minute or two freaking out, another Rec Room character joined me at the peak. “Out of the way, loser!” he said, sounding no older than 12 years old. He bum-rushed me and yelled “Wee!” before diving off the towering wall.

At that point, my competitive nature took over. There’s no way in hell I was about to let a snivelly little child outbrave me — not today! I took a deep breath and jumped off the wall. My stomach dropped as my brain truly believed I was plummeting to my death, but it was an exhilarating, thrilling feeling. I felt weightless and unfettered as I free-falled to the ground knowing that I’d still be alive upon impact. The snot-nosed kid was right — “wee!”

In real life, I’d be nothing but skull, bones and blood, but I crashed to the ground unscathed. As much as I complained about that exhausting wall, I plan to scale it again because the fall was worth the climb.

Day two: I jumped into a VR brawl

I’ve never pounded my fists into someone’s flesh. Have I thought about it? Sure. But did I act on it? No. You can’t just go around smacking people all willy nilly. In real life, there’s a social decorum you must maintain, a reputation to protect and laws you must follow. In virtual reality, though, it's a free-for-all.

The Brawler Room Echo VR

The Brawler Room Echo VR (Image credit: Ready at Dawn/Oculus Studios)

For my second day of VR mayhem, I went to the Brawler Room inside Echo VR’s public lobby for a next-level melee. Echo VR is a free esports, multiplayer game that is similar to soccer, but instead of a field, you’re floating in zero gravity. And instead of a ball, a disc is used. In the game, you’re actually encouraged to punch other players to gain possession of the disc and make goals. As such, you can practice punching others in the Brawler Room. 

If you need me to paint you a picture of what the Brawler Room is like, imagine five or six people angrily duking it out inside an indoor skydiving tube — it’s a lot of erratic flying and flailing punches. I typically steer clear of brawls in real life and in VR, but of course, the whole purpose of my week-long VR adventures is to act a total fool with no sense of logic or rationale, so I flew right into the Brawler room against my better judgment.

It was a terrible idea to go head-to-head with seasoned Echo VR players! When a player punches you, you get “stunned,” which means that you lose your mobility for a few seconds. During those few seconds, you can’t fly, you can’t punch back —  you can’t do a damn thing but drift down to the Brawler Room floor. Even when I tried to seek revenge after my stun period faded, they skillfully blocked my attacks. I felt like Steve Urkel fighting against a bunch of Manny Pacquiaos. I didn’t last more than four minutes in the Brawl Room — I defeatedly drifted out of there with the little dignity I had left. 

Day three: I rode a death-defying roller coaster

I love roller coasters. I love the butterflies I get in my stomach as the ride inches closer to the crest. I live for the adrenaline rush I get once the car plunges down a sharp-angled track. For the third day of the week, I decided to hop inside a roller coaster that would kill me and shatter me into pieces in real life. One of the scariest rides I’ve ever ridden — in VR and in real life — is Neon Rider from the Epic Roller Coasters app found in the Oculus Store. This ride is set in a futuristic, cyberpunk, dystopian setting where artificial intelligence and robots have taken over the world. Of course, the downside of a robot-led workforce is the possibility of malfunctions, and that’s exactly what happens.

Epic Roller Coasters

Neon Rider in Epic Roller Coasters (Image credit: Epic Roller Coasters)

Due to a malfunction, my roller coaster ride prematurely launched onto an unfinished track. Imagine how my heart damn-near leaped out of my chest when I saw that I was zooming full speed toward an incomplete roller coaster course. What happens next almost gave me a heart attack: I was catapulted several feet into the air, whizzing past high-rise buildings that I was almost certain to crash into. 

However, the car conveniently landed safely onto another track several feet ahead. In real life, there’s no way I would have survived that — the impact would have killed me. But that’s what I love about VR. It doesn’t care about physics; it just wants to give you the thrill of a lifetime.

I was also equipped with a gun (yes, I had two pistols in my hand)  to shoot at incoming targets during the exhilarating ride. I loved that I had the luxury of knowing that I’m safe — all while shooting down bullseyes and launching into the air like a rocket.

Day four: I scaled a skyscraper like Spider-Man

For my fourth day of VR absurdity, I decided to scale a 1,300-foot skyscraper in a heart-stopping game called The Climb 2. While my first day consisted of climbing, I had a different goal: jumping off a towering wall like a lunatic. With the Climb 2, however, the main focus was the hair-raising climb itself.

The Climb 2

The Climb 2 (Image credit: Crytek)

Like Spider-Man, The Climb 2 lets you scale high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, but for the love of all things holy, do not look down! Watching my feet dangle more than a thousand feet off the ground was terrifying. The graphics and sounds are very convincing with a bustling-metropolis setting and whooshing traffic below me. One wrong move and I’d be roadkill. Not only did I scale a skyscraper, but I also ziplined across a huge gap. The Climb 2 definitely fulfilled the VR adrenaline rush I was seeking. There were a few times when I didn’t grab a steel frame properly and I’d start to fall, but I stopped the fatal plummet just in time by grabbing onto another rail. Even how the game simulates human physical movement feels sickeningly real, mimicking exactly how it would “feel” if I grabbed something just before plunging to my death.

The Climb 2

The Climb 2 (Image credit: Crytek)

At one point, the wacky side of me tried to let go on purpose — just to see what it would feel like. Unfortunately, The Climb 2 doesn’t let you fully experience a plunge from a skyscraper; the game cuts the fall short after your VR character lets out a blood-curdling scream. Perhaps the developers are trying to circumvent legal liability for the psychological effects of such a sudden drop. Still, the coddled fall was a disappointment, but at least I got to scale a skyscraper like an action-movie spy with suction cups. Words cannot describe how exhilarating it is to scale a skyscraper. 

Day five: I went wingsuit flying and hang-gliding

For the final day of the week, I decided to go wingsuit flying. If someone suggested this activity in real life, I’d look at them like they had five heads and say, “Are you nuts? Wingsuit flying? Do you have a death wish?” However, I will gladly try out one of the world’s most dangerous in-air activities in VR. 

Rush VR

Rush VR (Image credit: The Binary Mill)

For this dangerous activity, I used Rush VR, a game that’s not only compatible with Oculus headsets, but also PSVR and PCVR. After a quick countdown, I threw myself off a sky-high platform and soared down mountainsides at breakneck speeds. I dodged tree branches that would have impaled me, boulders that would have demolished me, and squeezed through narrow passages that would have annihilated me. The adrenaline rush I got from Rush VR was unmatched by the other experiences I had earlier this week. The reason? I played this game while lying across a chair; those sheer drops felt that much more real.

I also went hang-gliding via a social VR app called Half + Half, which is solely for Quest users. Its graphics, like Rec Room, are a little bit too polygonal for my tastes. Its quality is nowhere near Rush VR, but it still offers a thrilling experience as you steer your hang-glider to chase a massive, colorful ball that soars through the sky. The goal of the game is to guide the ball through one of the hovering hoops. But truthfully, it’s such a difficult feat, most people dive into the game just to hear the wind roar as they zip through the sky. 

Don’t look down, though — you’ll find a freezing ocean filled with ice shelves that you wouldn’t want to fall into. Like wingsuit flying, I would never go hang-gliding in reality; I just don’t see how I’d survive flying through the sky with a glorified umbrella. However, I love that I can do something completely foolish in VR without suffering any life-thwarting consequences. 

Bottom line

So what did I learn from my adrenaline-rush-filled rampage in VR? First of all, the Oculus Store needs more exhilarating, heart-stopping games for thrill-seekers. Where are the sky-diving simulators? Why isn’t there a bungee-jumping app? Why can’t I zipline through virtual-reality jungles? Facebook needs a better catalog of VR games for its daredevil customers because the Oculus Store doesn’t cut it.

Secondly, I had a lot of fun fooling my brain into thinking that it was in serious danger. Virtual reality is the perfect platform for wusses like me who refuse to flirt with the boundaries of death, but still seek the tingles and flutters of thrilling adventures. VR guarantees that you will be safe from your dangerous, thrill-seeking adventures — something reality can’t promise.

There are some activities I will never do again (like jumping into a VR brawl), but others are worth a frequent visit. Although Rush VR gave me the greatest adrenaline rush, my day-one adventure was the most fulfilling — the victorious “I did it!” feeling I got from making it to the top after a grueling climb was worth the exhausting physical exertion. Plus, it’s the one game that lets you experience free-falling in all of its glory.

Note: If you tend to get queasy (I got motion sickness when I played VR horror for the first time), don’t try these at home — they will have your stomach churning if you often suffer from nausea.