One awesome thing that video games has over other forms of media is the level of immersion that they can provide. Some of you may be well aware of that experience of connecting with your virtual world and becoming affected by the environment which your avatar is involved in.
Some of you may also be aware of an incredible device called 'Oculus Rift' which is wowing the technological world. For those that don't know about it, here's a quick blurb about what the Rift is and why it's exciting;
Oculus Rift is an upcoming virtual reality head mounted display. It is worn on the users head and provides a monitor close to eye level which splits a virtual vision into left and right eye allowing the brain to create depth perception of a virtual environment. The display also tracks head movement meaning that when you look around with the Rift on, your in world character looks around.
This obviously adds a whole new level of immersion. Videos of the Dev kit being tested on members of the public shows people reacting physically to their virtual environment. Sweating, stomach dropping, head-jerking and screaming are common reactions to the Roller Coaster demo (NSFW Language). Whilst these results may seem a little undesirable, it's a testament to just how immersive the Rift is.
When game developers Gaijin got wind of the Oculus Rift they were excited to get in on the fun. The video below shows how they've been implementing the Rift into their game "War Thunder" - a WWII simulator game.
The video offers a tantalizing teaser into the potential of the Rift in a game that has already received the "Best Simulation Game" award at Gamescon 2013.
Whilst the results of the Rift in a game like War Thunder have yet to be seen on a large scale, (the Rift is still in development,) it certainly presents an interesting line of enquiry for those in the archaeological and historic fields.
For the first time ever data could be gathered on the psychological effects of historic combat environments. The public can experience first-hand history in museums and at homes, in a way that is fully immersive and subjective to the individual. People can be educated through experience of historic environments.
These are just a few ideas that come to mind of the potential of such awesome hardware, and there is almost certainly going to be more avenues opened up as the Rift becomes more widely available and these potentials become realised.
So finish your cuppa, hop in the cockpit and chocks away! There's something on the horizon, and it's the Oculus Rift.