Can’t seem to get through that 400 page book? Eoghan Kidney has the answer! Using James Joyce’s Ulysses as the prototype, he’s turning a book into a VR experience. As good a book as Ulysses is (or so we are told; haven’t read it yet!), many find it a challenge to read.
After being funded in a future Kickstarter, the game or VR book will put the player in Stephen Dedalus’ shoes as he goes through Proteus, the challenging third episode of the novel.
Concepts like this raise some important issues. This isn’t books on tape or a retranslation after all! In this case, the reader’s imagination is being replaced by pre-rendered visuals; it’s an interpretation of the book no matter how close to the original the developer tries to be. In our opinion, similar to movies, it’s inevitable that the experience will need to be adjusted to compensate for the nature of the medium it’s being shown on.
This isn’t about being good or bad, it’s just a change in medium and the ramifications of the new medium similar to how books get turned into movies. Some work, some don’t, and some end up having very little to do with the original material. Still, it’s an exciting effort. The closest comparable is probably Dear Esther which has very little interaction from the player, but you can’t help but be emamored by the world around you.
Now, you want a good book in VR form? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Bring on some VR Vogon poetry! If you can survive THAT in VR, you can survive anything! ;=)