Oculus up close: This is your face in a nerd helmet (pictures)

CNET staffers share their excitement -- and trepidation -- about the potentially transformative tech known as virtual reality, while they sport Facebook's new VR headset. Photographer James Martin captures it all.

James Martin
1 of 13 James Martin/CNET

Walking with dinosaurs

"I've never been a big gamer, so I didn't know if virtual reality was really for me and other people who don't play video games," says CNET News' Shara Tibken.

"Then I showed VR to my 3-year-old nephews. They watched a short clip about dinosaurs and were completely immersed and amazed. For a brief moment, they really thought a dinosaur was walking toward them. Instead of being scared, they were excited and wanted to see more. We're never going to see dinosaurs in real life, but VR makes it feel like we can. And that's really awesome."

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VR becoming reality

"I hope VR will indeed be a reality this time around," says CNET News' Terry Collins.

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Skeptical of VR, at first

"I was skeptical of VR at first, especially when it was first framed within the context of gaming," says CNET Reviews' Lynn La. "But after seeing how it can be integrated with movies, health and communications, I do believe VR is going to lead the next sea change in tech for many years to come."

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This could revolutionize gaming

"This could completely revolutionize gaming, especially with multiplayer games and virtual worlds," says CNET product manager Justin Cauchon. "The cost is the real barrier to entry now, but I look forward to Oculus becoming a household name when the price tag comes down."

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​What is real?

"I've been trying out VR since the early stages of Oculus and have watched this new platform grow and mature. I continue to be impressed by how real it's become," says CNET en Español senior editor Vanessa Hand Orellana. "I think it's still in its infancy, but there's no doubt in my mind that it will transform the way in which we consume content, communicate and tell stories. I think it could be the radio or TV of our generation."

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Something that could change the world

"I don't know. There's a lot of money behind this stuff and I am personally excited," says CNET Reviews' Eric Franklin. "It feels to me like something that could change the world, but I don't know exactly how. It's kind of scary really. People closing themselves off to others to experience this artificial world. I'm not sure that's something we should look forward to, but at the same time I can't help but be really intrigued by the concept."

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A glimpse of the future

CNET News' Carrie Mihalcik says, "It's like we're getting a glimpse of the future. Virtual reality is a little clunky right now, but I fully expect it to amaze me soon."

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VR is magical

"VR is magical, aspirational, a visual drug you have to see to believe. One taste of the good stuff and you're hooked," says CNET Reviews' Jessica Dolcourt.

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VR is a paradox

CNET News' Max Taves says, "VR is a paradox for me. I'm excited about it, really. But am I excited enough to buy a $100 headset, let alone a much more expensive Oculus? Nope."

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The potential of VR

"After trying out games like Bullet Train on the Oculus Rift, I'm very excited about the potential VR brings to my favorite hobby," says Christine Cain, social media producer. "I'm the furthest thing from an early adopter and will likely wait for the technology to mature, not to mention for the price to drop a bit. In the meantime, I'll start considering upgrades for my PC."

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The future we've been promised

For CNET Reviews' Sarah Mitroff, "VR is the future I've been promised for the last two decades. Now it's here. I'm wowed by the experience of putting on a headset and disappearing into a new world."

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Promising technology

CNET News' Rich Nieva says, "VR is one of the most promising consumer technologies I can remember in a long time."

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VR is very strange

"VR is very strange," says Danielle Ramirez, senior production manager on CNET Magazine. "The idea of it is cool but not something I'm going to run out and buy just yet. It seems a bit dangerous because of all the wires and I'm not super graceful so it seems like a hazard. Also, it's awkward to wear. Although it could be very cool for gaming, maybe for watching movies..."

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