I JUST went on a holiday to the beach AND the mountains – without leaving my house.
Turns out that going on vacation in the metaverse has its perks.
For a start, I didn’t need to pack, find my passport or rush to an airport.
I simply donned the Meta Quest 2 – Mark Zuckerberg’s increasingly popular virtual reality metaverse headset.
After a few minutes, I had installed and loaded up a VR app called Vacation Simulator.
It’s a sequel to the immensely popular (and surprisingly hilarious) Job Simulator.
The premise is that we’re in a future world where robots have replaced human jobs.
So you can use the Job Simulator to experience what it was once like to work – in an office, or as a mechanic, or in a car.
Vacation Simulator is the obvious follow-on: experience how humans of the past (ie today) would spend their time when “not jobbing”.
My holiday began at a hotel, where I was greeted by a floating robot who helped me get oriented.
She guided me into the bathroom, where I was able to sort my hair out, trim the old beard, and give myself a bleach-blonde dye job. Lovely stuff.
And then just like on proper hols, I went straight for the hotel bed for a lie down.
The bed was very spacious and comfortable – probably because in reality, I was flat on the floor on my living room rug.
My virtual room had a basketball in it, so I stood up again to shoot some hoops. The physics are spot-on (so I was understandably rubbish) but I did manage to get a few in.
Fatigued by my sportsmanship meters, I grabbed a virtual juice from my e-fridge.
It didn’t taste of much (or rather, of anything), but the glugging noises from the headset were oddly quenching.
Next I popped over to the TV, put a cartridge in a console, grabbed a virtual joystick and started playing a text adventure game about going on holiday.
The irony was not lost on me.
I also tried another cartridge that loaded a Mario-style side-scrolling platformer.
For a brief moment while playing on the virtual TV, I actually forgot none of this was real.
Anyway, it was good fun – so who cares?
It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t actually left the hotel room. Whoops!
So I went outside to the beach, where I lay on the sand for a bit and read a book about coconuts.
I popped into the sea for a quick dip, and even dunked my head.
The audio changed and I felt immersed in the underwater world. I even grabbed a shell as a souvenir.
It’s still in my virtual backpack, waiting for me in Zuckerberg’s digital realm.
I grabbed a sun hat from the beach store because I’m not entirely convinced I can’t sunburn in virtual reality.
And then I decided it was time for a change of scenery.
The fun never stops … until it does
Next stop was Vacation Island’s mountain resort.
It was a lot colder, so I didn’t plan on hanging around for long – but I did manage to find a hot tub.
I’m told by a robot that I can experience the stunning overlook once I “collect more memories” – the game’s currency – to unlock the area.
Alas I didn’t fancy working on my vacation, so I went back to the hotel and decided that was enough holidaying for one day.
I was surprised by how much fun my virtual holiday was.
And there’s so much more to do in this strange meta-world that I’m itching to go back.
The big advantage is that my virtual vacation was significantly cheaper than a real one.
And it’s a quick way to get a taste of a holiday if you don’t have one on the horizon.
But really, all my virtual vacation did was make me desperately want a real one even more.
Maybe the metaverse won’t replace reality after all.
You can buy Vacation Simulator through the Meta / Oculus Store for £ 22.99 / $ 29.99.
- Meta Quest 2 at Best Buy for $ 299 – buy here
- Meta Quest 2 at Currys for £ 299 – buy here
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