If i’ve said it once, i’ve said it a thousand times: The world needs a virtual reality chuckwagon racing experience. It’s an incredibly captivating genre of virtual reality entertainment that absolutely deserves more attention than it currently receives. So you can imagine my shock when Alberta, Canada’s annual Calgary Stampede festival announced that this years attractions will include a multi-player VR chuckwagon racing experience.
Sarcasm aside, the upcoming experience looks as fun as it does bizarre. Developed in partnership by Momentum Worldwide and Flight School for GMC, the GMC Rangeland Derby VR Experience is a multi-person racing experience simulating what it’s like to be in the driver’s seat of an old school chuckwagon barreling down the legendary Half Mile of Hell.
The twist? Each wagon you and your buddies race isn’t powered by traditional horses, but instead by the GMC (of course) Sierra 2500 pickup truck.
Each participant will mount an actual wagon and hook up to an Oculus Rift headset. There they’ll use Touch controllers strapped to the wooden vehicle to whip and turn your diesel-powered steed through tight turns and sharp corners. And in case you’re wondering, yes, it does look as silly as it sounds.
“North American teams in Canada and the US have been working to bring this GMC Rangeland Derby VR experience to life for months,” said Jason Alan Snyder, Global CTO, Momentum Worldwide. “Truckwagon strikes the perfect balance of realism and fantasy, paired with a superb technical, graphical and audio execution. It’s an exciting, immersive experience that was formulated to bring fans as close as possible to the deepest and most authentic aspects of GMC and their sponsorship of the Calgary Stampede.”
The rootin-tootin “truckwagon” experience was free for attendants during the Calgary Stampede fairgrounds that ran July 7-16, 2017. A live host presented during the event to call the races, bringing a more authentic level of live excitement to not only the racers, but spectators as well. Legendary Track Announcer Les McIntyre was also involved in the project as an in-game instructor offering guidance to fresh players while in VR.
Is this the most prudent use of virtual reality we’ve seen so far? No, absolutely not. Is it a fun little experiment that should help bring a few laughs to some drunk, Canadian festival-goers? Yes, 100%. Isn’t that what VR is all about?