An attendee tries on the new Oculus Go goggles during F8. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Many Americans are about to spend a whole lot more time than usual with their family this week, and while that sounds great, it's often served with a side of conflict. Virtual reality is a great way to remove yourself from a tense experience, but it's not exactly portable. I'm a big fan of virtual reality gaming (Serious Sam still tops my list for ease of play and nausea free graphics) but I know it's hard to share with others. To understand virtual reality you really have to see it, and there's no way I'm lugging my HTC Vive or Oculus Rift setup with me every time I travel.
But this year, thanks to a growing number of more mobile VR headsets, it's about to change. Launched in May 2018, the Oculus Go does not provide the same wow factor as the Oculus Rift, but it does help defuse a tense dinner situation with exciting virtual worlds and zombie shooters.
But if you're strapping grandpa in a headset you want to make sure the content appropriate -- the same goes for all those cousins and awkward aunts. Here's my roundup of the best Oculus Go games to make family Thanksgiving a blast.
The Paid Games:
For me, board games are the epitome of Thanksgiving, with people gathered around the table to argue over Monopoly properties or the Game of Life rolls. Catan VR provides a familiar interface for people who enjoy Catan, giving an easy introduction to virtual reality play without needing to explain too much. The immersiveness is great, and having this in VR means you'll always be able to get a team together for a game. Get it for $9.99.
Enjoy the adrenaline rush of this space shooter as you undertake multiplayer missions and aerial dogfighting. The visuals are striking, the gameplay feels natural and the headset responds to head movements, and the 'gaze to turn' mode makes adds a level of ease to target shooting.
Best for: The teen with a sugar high.
Get it for $7.99
Anyone with dreams of Hogwarts will love this beautifully crafted spellcasting game, where you play as a wizard and select different spells for online duals. Survival mode lets you see how long you can spell battle for and with the latest J.K Rowling flick at the movies right now, everyone is sure to want a go.
Best for: Any Harry Potter fan
Get it for $9.99 here.
Best Free Games:
Players will likely be to young to know what a Tamagotchi is, but this uber cute game lets them pick, train and play with their own little monster pets, direct from Scrufflewicks, the 'most extraordinary shop' in the kingdom. You can set your pet in the tournaments to battle, or just enjoy playing and customizing them.
Best for: 5-10 year olds
To be honest, a lot of 'VR video' leaves much to be desired. And it's generally not VR, anyways -- more like 360 video. This is in that genre, but where it stands out is in some specific content. With the right videos, you're placed right in the middle of a football game, seeing it from the players perspective, able to look around and watch different moves and tackles. I'm not a football fan yet I found this riveting. You have to sift through some less quality stuff, but a couple of these gems will have people who were so-so on VR changing their tune pretty rapidly. For the fashion incline, you can also view influencer apartments in 360, and more.
Dead and Buried
There's something so pure about a zombie shooter, the swift reload, shoot, redraw and the deafening cries of the green defeated as they drop to the floor. This is a fun free shooter to play on the Go. The graphics are a little cartoony, and the style is Western meets horror, but it's entertaining, easy, and you can up the difficulty if you like.
Best For: Getting rid of that after dinner rage.
Get it here for free.
Cutesy carnival games with a gorgeously designed interface. Will get those awww moments going bigtime. Think whimsy inspired by Pixar.
Best For: Parents who need five minutes off.
Get it here for free.