5 great immersive experiences that you can live this summer

By Gregory Ferris, Sydney University of Technology

What do you think of when you hear the word “immersive”?

It evokes different things for different people. For some, it’s a simple feeling of going to the beach, the pool, or even the flotation tank.

For others, it is immersion through the imagination, through books, theater, exhibitions or cinema.

For the more tech-savvy, immersion can mean picking up your phone, turning on a game console and grabbing a controller or donning a head-mounted display to enter a different reality.

All these interpretations are correct. Immersion is sensory. It hits one or more of your senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. It makes you physically engage, interact and navigate with and through an experience.

Here are five different methods to immerse yourself this summer beyond jumping into the ocean.

1. Augmented reality

For the uninitiated, augmented reality is a way of interacting with overlay digital content and interacting with the real world, typically through your mobile device.

While augmented reality hasn’t made a significant impact after the heady days of 2016 and Pokémon GO, the team behind that global success hasn’t rested on its laurels.

Main entrance is an excellent option for those coming from the Pokémon experience, with a more adult open story and “capture the flag” elements mixed in with the old. geocaching.

During the game, you choose a team and your phone transforms into a “scanner”, and local landmarks become “portals”. Two teams compete to claim ownership of these portals.

And your new app Peridot, currently in beta, will be familiar to Tamagotchi owners, here with a few changes. You can raise, care for and even breed your virtual pet with other players’ pets to avoid extinction.

But unlike the Tamagotchis of yore, you can take these creatures on virtual walks, while exploring the real physical world around you.

2. 3D movies

See that fancy flat screen TV sitting in the corner of the living room? Chances are if it was purchased in the early to mid 2010s, it may have been part of the push for 3D TVs and may even have come with a bunch of 3D glasses similar to what you might get at the theater.

There are some great hidden 3D gems that you can watch at home.

The young and prodigious TS Spivet (2013), is a beautiful example of a road movie, as our ten-year-old protagonist travels across the country to accept an award from the Smithsonian for inventing a perpetual motion machine.

Slightly more adult is Long day’s journey into the night (2019), which plays like a Lynchian dream for most of its runtime and features a stunning hour-long 3D sequence presented as a single shot as the film’s protagonist wanders the city.

Finally, the winner of the 2018 Oscar for Animated Feature, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse it’s a downright mind blowing and crazy experience if you can find it in 3D.

3. Escape rooms

Immersive experiences don’t have to include technology.

In an escape room, a small team comes together to solve a series of puzzles in order to “escape” the “room” in which these puzzles are located.

You can find many different escape rooms in almost every capital in Australia. My personal favorite is the cipher room in Sydney’s inner west and its monochrome, film-noir-inspired Marlowe Hotel.

My advice is to dress in black and white for a fully immersive experience as you and your friends solve a series of clues to get into the hotel and retrieve some incriminating documents.

4. Virtual reality games

While embracing new technology, why not get your retro gaming fix at the same time?

Older gamers may remember the classic 1990s CD-Rom adventure Myst, where the player explores a mysterious island solving puzzles along the way (which also serves as the inspiration for thousands of escape rooms around the world).

The game has now been re-imagined for VR as a free-roaming adventure and it has never looked better.

Fans of console systems from the 2000s will enjoy Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin which continues Tim Burton’s crazy aesthetic from the classic Psychonauts (2005), picking up the story from the end of the first adventure and taking it to new dimensions and levels.

Based on the original game, you take on the role of Raz, as you use his psychic powers to solve a series of puzzles to escape the Rhombus of Ruin. Fantastic for some lazy afternoon casual gaming.

Fans of first-person shooters will enjoy the award-winning Half Life: Alyx.

This is the game to play if you want to break a sweat, while running around fighting aliens that have taken over the Earth. Alyx’s story serves as a prequel to Half-Life 2 (2004) and features a fun voice acting from Rhys Darby as the character Russell. Highly recommended.

5. 4DX Movies

James Cameron has finally finished his sequel to 2009’s Avatar, and the best way to experience it Avatar: The Path of Water it will be the fully immersive experience of 4DX, a cinematic experience available in most capitals. The technology combines on-screen images with synchronized motion seats and environmental effects such as water, wind, fog, fragrance, snow and more.

Cameron’s film should offer a completely immersive experience, using 3D image synchronization, motion simulation and 4DX cinema fog effects. Especially given the flight and underwater sequences, the effects of wind and water should be a completely immersive experience during the summer.The conversation

This article is republished from The conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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new year 2023,


Sydney University of Technology

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