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Oculus Rift and Game of Thrones Combine For Awesome Effect

The queue may be HOURS long, but one of the displays inside the Game of Thrones exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art is well worth the wait.

July 01, 2014
PC & Tech Authority
by David Hollingworth

So, I don't want to brag or anything, but last night I took my vows as a member of the Night's Watch, and travelled to the top of The Wall to defend the Seven Kingdoms from a Wildling attack.

I also kinda, uh, died. So at least those really restrictive vows no longer count.

Thankfully, it was an entirely virtual death, provided by a clever bit of stage-management and the virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift.

You know nothing, etc

The exhibition is a bit on the small side, and isn't complete, but that's to be expected - this is, after all, a show still in production. But the costumes and props that are on display are pretty impressive. The Hound's grim armour stands by the incredibly tiny travelling clothes of Arya Stark; in a display on the fashions of King's Landing, fans can mourn over the rather epic coat worn by the Red Viper of Dorn, Prince Oberyn Martell.

And you can Hodor at Hodor's rather super-sized duds. Hodor.

But the wow moment is pure digital magic. There are four booths kitted out to look like the elevator cage that carries characters to the top of The Wall, each fitted with a Rift headset, and a pair of headphones. A kindly assistant helps you get into the gear, and then directs you to face forward, and to listen to his instructions.

The headset turns on, and for a moment it's a digitised version of the display itself. But then, the lift 'rises' - or at least your viewpoint does. The creak of the chains hauling you up combines with a hidden fan blowing cold air on your head for an uncanny sensation of being there, and as you look around the length and height of the wall is inspiring.

At the 'top', the assistant directs you to turn around, and as you do your viewpoint walks forward. You can look down the carved trenches of the wall's top, before coming to the long drop down to Wildling country below - and they're attacking. Arrows whiz past, horns blow, and then you cop one - a flaming bolt to the chest, and you topple off on the long fall down.

It's a pretty satisfying finish to the show.

The Game of Thrones exhibition is on this week until Friday, in the Foundation Hall at the MCA. Did mention you can get photos taken in a slightly smaller-than-scale replica of the Iron Throne? 'Cause you totally can.

Oculus Rift and Game of Thrones Combine For Awesome Effect

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