Produced by Garrett Fuselier
As experienced in Virtual Reality ~ October 2022
The Experience & How it Works:
HOST is a virtual reality game. You put on a headset and with no instruction, are enticed to enter an organism. Once inside, it’s your job to figure out what to do next. And somehow, you do.
Why it’s Interesting, IMHO:
I’d met the creator and wanted to check out his game before he came to speak with students in a class I was teaching. That being said, having experienced the game, it’s interesting on account of its stellar user experience design. With no menus or voiceover, it’s clean, simple and capitalizes on human instinct and the human inclination to discover and conquer.
Initial Impression & Critical Discussion:
There was a moment when I first tried the experience where I asked myself, “Am I doing it right?” When it comes to consumer experiences, virtual reality is still in its early days, so it’s not uncommon for something to go wrong. It’s possible, I thought, that I somehow missed the start screen. But I hadn’t. And once I got over my own insecurities about having possibility started it up wrong, I found the design remarkably intuitive.
Glowing green orbs attract your attention and touching them leads to visible results. You can try touching other things, but nothing happens. With just a little exploration, the process of elimination quickly informs you of what abilities you have and don’t have. Then, it’s up to you to figure out how to use what you can do to get yourself through the level and deeper into your host. Because there’s so little instruction, the feeling of satisfaction when you’ve sorted it out is, IMHO, even greater.
Among the fascinating things about this game are:
- HOST is a game, but the goal is not explicitly stated to you. In a way, you figure out the goal by achieving it.
- HOST has a story, but it’s not told to you. You are the protagonist and, effectively, live the story by playing the game. Still, it has all the key elements of a story (at least as far as it’s been developed so far—we’ll only be able to confirm the resolution upon the game’s completion).
- Size Matters. Make sure you have the required size play area. Any smaller space will make it difficult to complete the levels.
- Believe in Yourself. You have what it takes to succeed. Follow your gut. Pay attention. Think critically.
- Give Back. HOST is about feeding off of another being. And it’s the creation by an indie creator who will benefit from your energy and enthusiasm (this will also help him to be able to complete the final levels), so if you like it, leave a positive review.
Experiential Viewpoint Expression (E.V.E.):
Embodied, 1st person visual, 1st person narrative, participant, mortal
When you find yourself in proximity to a host, you make your way inside to do what you do as a parasite, and then the organism presents a labyrinth for you to navigate.
Pillars of Game:
Voluntary Participation — check!
Goal —to get to the innermost chamber of your host
Rules — you can touch things, you can look at things, you can physically move around the space
Feedback — certain things will react to your touch/movement, others will not; when you succeed at one level, you’re moved to the next.
Conclusion: This is a game!
Who Should Experience This?
Anyone who’s excited to explore virtual reality. IMHO, this is a game for non-gamers and gamers alike. All you need to be to succeed is human.