Worth the wait: The Oculus Rift doesn't come with these great games
The Oculus Rift is here -- but some of the best VR games aren't.
Rebecca FleenorFormer Project Manager
Rebecca Fleenor was an editorial project manager. She enjoys all things wacky, techie and entertaining, and she's usually off binge-watching films and television shows (and writing them in her spare time).
When his parents denied him a Super NES, he got mad. When they traded a prize Sega Genesis for a 2400 baud modem, he got even. Years of Internet shareware, eBay'd possessions and video game testing jobs after that, he joined Engadget. He helped found The Verge, and later served as Gizmodo's reviews editor. When he's not madly testing laptops, apps, virtual reality experiences, and whatever new gadget will supposedly change the world, he likes to kick back with some games, a good Nerf blaster, and a bottle of Tejava.
Patience is a virtue. Or so I've been told by the smugly patient. I find myself incredibly antsy sitting on the brink of a captivating new technology. But with virtual reality, there may be a good reason to wait: Some of the best things we've seen in VR require motion controllers -- and the Oculus Rift doesn't ship with them.
When the Oculus Touch motion controllers arrive in the second half of 2016 -- for an undisclosed price -- it'll mean a second wave of content that lets you reach out and grab things in virtual worlds. You can get a few of those sooner with the HTC Vive. But if you're going to wait till fall, you might also consider Sony's PlayStation VR headset, which will have its own exclusive titles.
Here's a short list of VR games that might be worth waiting for.
Editors' note: As you scroll down this article page on a desktop Web browser, you should see a table of contents pop up on the left. Be sure to check out our other Must-See VR picks there.
I Expect You to Die (Oculus Touch)
Play a secret agent trying to survive the deadliest of situations. An early version of the game is already available for early Oculus developer kits, but it relies on a mouse to point and click. We find that when you're doing detailed work (like disarming a bomb), a motion controller can really come in handy. Did we mention it's great fun?
Available: Fall, when Oculus Touch arrives
Dead & Buried (Oculus Touch)
Gunslingin' done right! This two-on-two online shooter drops you straight into a Wild West bar fight. Just reach for your holstered six-shooters, draw, and aim where you want to shoot. You'll have to literally cower behind cover with your real-life body, then pop out to take potshots at your foes. Signal your partner with hand gestures if you need help, or just holler over the Rift's built-in microphone.
Rock Band VR (Oculus Touch)
Harmonix's successful franchise seems to be struggling with popularity in recent years. Perhaps Rock Band VR will help reinvigorate the series. Even though the instruments have been tangible for years, the experience of actually being a real musician on stage has not. The 360-degree experience should let band, fans and venue come alive (regardless of your continued inability to actually play guitar).
Fantastic Contraption (Oculus Touch)
Folks who opted for the HTC Vive will already be able to get their hands on this come April. But anyone going the Oculus route will sadly have to wait for the Touch. On the bright side, the game seems worth the wait; you'll be able to lose yourself in the fantastical and colorful puzzle solving and building.
Available: April 5 on HTC Vive; coming to Oculus Touch this fall
In the near future, when robots have replaced humans in basic jobs, Job Simulator will allow humans to experience what it was like to work. Ever wanted to know what it's like to sit in a cubicle? Cook gourmet food? Help customers in a store? Well, you will, trust us. And fortunately the game will be a launch day title for the Vive, Touch, and Playstation VR.
Available: April 5 on HTC Vive; coming to Oculus Touch and Playstation VR this fall
Rez Infinite (PlayStation VR)
An exciting update to Sega's cult-classic Rez, a rail-shooter music video game. Not everyone understood the point of Rez in 2001, but don't let that scare you off. Rez Infinite lets the game come alive in the way the developers always imagined. If you're like this lucky Wired writer, perhaps even in a full-body vibrating suit. Either way, being bodily inside the Tron-like title is a real mind trip.
Tank battling has returned! This reboot knocks up the nostalgia to another level, updating Atari's classic 1980 Battlezone to full-on VR. The purposefully retro sounds and aesthetic will help placate those who miss the old school video arcades into embracing this visually fantastic world. It's also one of the smoothest and most satisfying VR experiences we've had so far, sliding through the retro worlds with our hover tank and pegging baddies with perfectly aimed shells.
RIGS (PlayStation VR)
In the year 2065, the most popular sport is a intriguing combination of basketball and killer robot deathmatch. RIGS lets you experience it for yourself with a PlayStation VR headset. You use a gamepad to send your nimble exoskeleton around the arena, but aim its guns with your head. Our demos have been a bit disorienting, but it's a great looking game.