While the majority of virtual reality games and experiences are pleasant ones, there are a number of applications which can certainly play to more than just one emotion. We’ve already seen horror apps, which take users on frightening journeys, but nothing may be as scary and real as a new application rolled out this morning by the news organization Guardian.
Today, Guardian News & Media Ltd has rolled out their virtual reality application to both Android and iOS, with plans to release a number of immersive experiences over the coming months ahead. The very first piece, also launched today, thanks in part to the content studio The Mill, is called ‘6X9,’ and it takes viewers inside a 6X9 solitary confinement prison cell. You become the prisoner in a very life-like VR experience, as numerous individuals speak about their own personal experiences within solitary for anywhere between one to eight years a piece.
“What’s it like to spend 23 hours a day in a cell measuring 6×9 feet for days, weeks, months or even years? 6×9 is the Guardian’s first virtual reality experience, which places you inside a US solitary confinement prison cell and tells the story of the psychological damage that can ensue from isolation,” wrote the Guardian.
I’ve personally tried the experience, which lasts all but a few minutes, and I have to say it is a bit unnerving. You become truly immersed in the situation, and I even jumped at the sound of banging on one of the walls. Guardian urges users to wear headphones so that one’s immersion into the experience is even stronger. To think that there are over 80,000 individuals currently in solitary confinement within the United States, all spending 22-24 hours a day in a room that’s just six by nine feet in size, really got to me for some reason. Although I know these are not good people, in fact many of them are evil to say the least, I find it hard to imagine the mental distress of having to stay in one of these cells for a couple of days, much less 8 years like some individuals have had to experience.
This is certainly a new form of journalism being presented by The Guardian, and I look forward to see what other pieces the news organization eventually will release. If you wish to experience solitary confinement, I urge you to download the Guardian VR app on Android or iOS immediately. You do not need to own a Google Cardboard device to at least watch the experience on your smartphone on tablet, but things get a whole lot more believable if you do have the capability to experience it in VR. The app will work with any iOS 8 or later, and any Android 4.4 or later devices. Check out the brief sneak peak of the experience in the video below and let us know if you’ve experienced this incredible new form of jounalism in VR. Discuss in the 6X9 VR forum on VRTalk.com.