From 1pm to 1:10 pm yesterday afternoon three avatars tried inexpertly to communicate with one another in 4 D, several more wandered the hallways and lobbies of the Riftmax virtual theatre trying to find the right room for the press conference, and at least one became irate. In the real world, a collection of fans and bloggers watched two hapless dudes try to navigate two realities at once. The world’s first virtual reality press conference had begun.
“Where are you guys? Am I pointing in the right direction?” Paul asked the attendants in the actual room he was in, while still absently holding down on the alt key that would let him communicate with the virtual theatre where they had recently become acquainted with Sheldon from PEI. Sheldon had started talking with Mike and Paul before the press conference, at about ten minutes to one when the Bad Records crew had finally figured out the equipment and started getting their legs in the virtual world. Once the people started arriving to the event in the real world, it was harder to keep the conversations straight.
“Right now you’re talking to the bathrooms, we’re over here.” Yelled Karen, number thirteen fan on the fan leaderboard over at ComedyCoup.com. (She was number seven last week, what the heck is going on over there? Their fan-deciding scheme must be wonky.) Karen of course reigns undisputed as the number one comedy fan in Montreal, we at least have got our heads on straight.
With Karen’s help, Paul finally got his real-world body facing the right direction. He was just starting to get things rolling in a manner that everybody might be able to understand, since he was now facing the crowd in both realities and pressing all the right buttons, when he was interrupted.
Mike had been getting more and more uncomfortable with the “VR experience.” It started with incoherent mumbling and quickly escalated to his suddenly tearing off his oculus rift virtual reality headset and charging into the crowd.
“I’ve had enough of this reality.” He hollered, “ I am done, I can’t take it anymore.”
Then he started taking off his clothes.
Meanwhile in the virtual world, Sheldon was still trying to get through to the guys. Unfortunately Paul and Mike were having other issues, Paul had discovered that he could look up with his oculus rift headset, and he had gotten stuck on the ceiling. Trying to keep control of this press conference over the momentary sensory overload was proving difficult.
Losing his restrictive clothing had calmed Mike down, and seeing that Paul was now also starting to lose his cool Mike begrudgingly put his headset back on and tried to yell back at Sheldon. Unfortunately the system seems to require the smallest amount of finesse at this early stage in development, and little was getting through. Undeterred, Mike kept yelling into the rift, as though that would make it easier to understand what he was saying. It was a bit like how the most clueless of American and Canadian tourists yell in increasingly high decibels at cab drivers in Montreal who are perfectly capable of understanding English.
While this was all going on in the virtual theater and in the real-world theater space, Bad Records social media spaces were lighting up with questions about how to work the press conference or the Riftmax reality. Unfortunately, you can really only be in a maximum of two places at once these days, so these queries went unheeded.
I was sitting in the audience giggling and taking photos of the disaster when my brother in Calgary got in touch with me via snapchat. He said that he had managed to download the game and was in the Riftmax virtual platform, operating on his computer in 2D, but that he was having trouble finding us. I tried my best to give him directions, but at that moment I wasn’t so clear about where we were myself or how many Ds there were. He texted me again letting me know that there were several other people wandering the virtual lobby, all looking for the press conference.
Unfortunately for their potential virtual guests, the guys were not doing too well. Paul had given up on being upright and was laying prone on the stage, complaining about the dimensions being too much for him. Mike, standing alone in his socks and underwear, had sputtered out on trying to communicate with Sheldon and was once again heard mumbling about not being able to take this reality.
They were five minutes into their ten minute press conference.
*** UPDATE: Upon checking the fan leaderboard we have ascertained that Karen is once again in eighth place. Good work Karen! The number one fan is currently Sheldon from PEI. Wow.