A few days ago I got the chance to play ADR1FT on a virtual reality setup – and it was absolutely mind-blowing.
As long as I can remember I have been fascinated by space. As utopian as it may be, it has always been a lifelong dream of mine to float in outer space and look down to Earth. To see this marvelous, blue glowing ball hanging in front of me with nothing in between but black void. And I think ADR1FT has fulfilled this dream as much as possible. I can now somewhat imagine what it must feel like to float in zero G, unable to tell up from down.
Never ever have I been more “in” a game than here. The first time you open up your virtual eyes inside of that space suit is breathtaking. Your vision is wrapped by the helmet around it, you’re actually inside the game engine. You ARE part of that virtual world. It’s like a deep space training simulation with amazing graphics and physics. And the absolute freedom of movement. It already begins in the main menu when the text labels are floating in mid-air right in front of you. You’re able to lean into the words as far as you like and I haven’t been in love with pixels like that since I played the original Worms.
This ridiculous level of detail is found throughout all stages of the game. For example, if I move around for real I’m also to some extent moving around inside of my virtual space suit. I can lean forwards until I see my own arms and hands outside the visor. The glass in front of my face has visible cracks and I’m fully able to observe the stitched cushioning and carbon fiber coverings around it. When I pilot the suit using external controls (in reality, an XBOX controller) it’s moving really sluggish, due to zero gravity. This interplay between my own POV, the helmet around it and the virtual space in which I’m travelling, creates a truly unique and highly immersive physicality.
The sole custom cover in this blog post is more like an excuse to talk about this incredible game. There’s no soundtrack available anywhere and it’s highly unlikely that there ever will be one. But I always appreciate to work with high quality images and in this respect ADR1FT‘s got plenty of it. The game is a real head-turner (in the most literal way you can imagine).
The front cover (#1) is an alteration of Cory Schmitz’s original and strangely arresting logo design. I’ve also re-utilized the same font that was used for the game’s main menu (“Neuropol X“). The back (#2) is my own composition. An attempt to recreate the in-game perspective translated into a square album cover. Using the original concept art by Oscar Cafaro, I added and adapted all other elements one by one (helmet, visor, hands, foreground and background scenery) to give the illusion of an in-game screenshot.
It’s beyond me how this game has gotten so many poor reviews. ADR1FT is not to be played, it is to be experienced! It made me feel the sort of childish delight that is so hard to remember when you get older. I cannot thank Three One Zero enough. They have proven in an impressive way that the VR future is a bright one. Unfortunately it’s not theirs as they shut down for good this January. That’s too bad! I would have loved to see what else they had up their sleeves.