In Fear of Heights Show, it's a life-or-death battle to save a helpless kitten

March 30, 2016 by Kris Ligman

It might be virtual reality, but this video might have you clutching your chair for support anyway.

Don't even watch this video if you're afraid of heights. Actually, don't watch it even if you think you might be a teensy bit uncomfortable around heights, or have ever experienced vertigo, because boy howdy, this video's gonna give you vertigo.

While the total runtime is short (just 40 seconds) and most of the footage is spent watching the participants of this experiment, the few shots we get of what they're seeing from inside their HTC Vive virtual reality headsets looks absolutely mind-bending. The fact that the experience is grounded with real props -- a wooden plank just like the one in the VR, and a stuffed kitten toy to match the crying virtual one -- makes it either way better or extremely worse, I'm not sure... No, worse, it definitely makes it worse.

Remember how, when the Oculus Rift was first gaining traction a few years ago, someone made a proof-of-concept video of first-person parkour game Mirror's Edge running on the headset? This seems to be exploring a similar idea, except you aren't playing as athletic freerunning Faith but your own quivering, useless meatsack of a body. While it looks like the experiment is being handled with the proper controls -- you can see multiple technicians observing, and one guy even runs in to prevent a participant from falling over -- I have to wonder if anyone peed their pants doing this, just a little.

I'm a big-time VR skeptic, and I get simulation sickness if I stay in one of the headsets too long, but this is the first VR 'game' I've ever really wanted to try. Because I hate myself, perhaps. Or I just really, really want to save that kitten.

Fear of Heights Show is one of six games being exhibited at Bandai Namco's upcoming VR Zone: Project I Can, a virtual reality expo center opening in Tokyo on April 15th. Here's the complete list of titles:

  • Fear of Heights Show: Rescue a kitten from the edge of a 650 feet (200 meters) tall skyscraper (above).
  • Ski Rodeo: A first-person skiing game down steep mountain slopes.
  • Real Drive: Driving! On a circuit!
  • Escape Ward Omega: A survival horror scenario set in an abandoned hospital, in case Fear of Heights wasn't enough to freak you out.
  • Train Meister: In what is possibly the most Japanese game on this list, you play as a train engineer operating Japan's Yamanote Line.
  • Argyle Shift: You and your young lady co-pilot control a giant robot battling other giant robots. I take it back, this is definitely the most Japanese game here.

(h/t Siliconera)

Kris Ligman is the News Editor of ZAM. They want to hug every cat. Find them on Twitter @KrisLigman.