Elite: Dangerous Preview

It’s out of my price range.

I played a game I would likely never play, except for the fact that I had particularly gracious access from the game’s developers who also assembled and prepared a lot of expensive equipment. In truth, I do not know the value of the PC gaming hardware I used so please ignore the $3000 comment I make in the description of this article on the homepage. Everyone knows I use Macbook Pro and I’m ridiculed for it should I pop my head into the forums. That’s fine. Go ahead and laugh.

All told, I used the mouse once to launch the game client. Instead, I used an expensive looking throttle and a heavy duty stick, sporting even a metallic flip cover I needed to figure out while blindfolded by Oculus Rift in-development virtual reality goggles. At one point, a developer had to wipe the glass inside given the immense intensity I was experiencing. It was, in a word, rad.

I am of two minds regarding the overall product I went to play today and in reality, well away from the image you’ll see above which I think should remain appropriate in combination with the Youtube video here. I figured I’d only have two or three hours and walked away impressed. However, I still can’t say if you should take this preview as a seal of authentically VR-ready me. In my life, I’ve seen some beautiful things yet it would be the sensation that ultimately sells me on what you see above.

Did I convey it well?

I have always felt like I wanted to run away and escape into the virtual reality of First Kid. Dangerously foreign, obscurely geometric, hauntingly awkward were the goals, not mere objectives or orders as you might expect with most video games. It was as if I got that every single step of the way. Sitting here now and typing all of it out, you couldn’t get names or faces or even details about the game from me, other than that I remember every exploding space craft.

Moreover, I remember the presentation better than most and I’ve seen several unbelievable presentations lately.

The throttle sported metal and seemed bolted to the desk. It featured a few different buttons and the ability to input directions in addition to a large slide that didn’t falter even during intense force feedback. The rumble proved to be an important gameplay element in navigating space with the craft provided for a few tutorial missions. Grabbing the joystick was an entirely different set of circumstances.

It, like the throttle, featured buttons, most of which lit up, the metallic cover safety, and the ability to both twist and “bump” for advanced maneuvering. While I didn’t try it myself, the game allowed you to play with the engines such that you could hurtle your ship through space and bank on extreme angles. Thrusters could activate extremely close turns and in truth the enemy artificial intelligence required quite a dedicated pilot, though locking on and firing weapons was easy given the intuitive controls.

I’ll never afford this set up myself.

Whosoever can expend as much money on a piece of technology as expensive a video gaming capable PC rig either needs it for work or works. That left me fumbling with my own wallet and the knowledge that I could hardly get the virtual reality goggles without the added controls. Regardless, I recommend everyone tries it if they’re able.

If I’m completely honest, I’ve had some trouble discerning what I’ve been seeing lately with what I know and this was the absolute first time that’s happened with what I’m seeing while wearing virtual reality goggles. It was the initial grasp of the controls. At least in the tutorial missions, virtual hands reach out and grab virtual controls as you do the same in reality while wearing the Oculus Rift goggles.

Anywhere else and you couldn’t fool me, but something about the origins of Elite got me. The demonstration introducing the game threw a spinning retro-geometry render on screen. I loved feeling like the most “immersive” or potentially “innovative” piece of video gaming in years started with that image.