Last week it was announced that Facebook had paid $2 billion to purchase Oculus VR Inc., a two-year old virtual reality company with only one product: the Oculus Rift, a cutting-edge, immersive virtual reality headset used for gaming.


According to industry experts, this move by Facebook isn’t solely a leap into the world of gaming – they have much bigger ideas. The social media giant apparently sees the potential uses of a virtual reality platform now that the technology has reached a certain high standard and low price point. There’s talk of watching sports as if you were standing in the crowd and being able to visit your doctor without leaving the house, as well as the stuff you’d expect from a company like Facebook – a more immersive and engaging form of social media. Sounds like science fiction!

But if you want to impress me with virtual reality gaming, the bar is set pretty high. I want to see something like the experience you get with Avalon, the illegal battle simulation game around which the film of the same name is centred.


Directed by the brilliant anime director Mamoru Oshii (he of ‘Ghost in the Shell’ fame), Avalon is a live action sci-fi film set in a parallel universe where life is harsh & joyless. Oshii chose to film in the cities of Warsaw and Wroclaw because they embodied the post-apocalyptic feel he was looking for, hence the film being in Polish.

Avalon is a wholly immersive and extremely addictive war game that relieves the tedium of everyday life and also serves to supplement the characters’ income. The battle simulation has been made illegal due to the fact that gamers frequently immerse themselves too far and end up comatose for life. As such, would-be digital warriors must enter the game centres elusively, then pay for their cell and wire into the game.


Whilst I appreciate that this film won’t be for everyone, I absolutely love the look and feel of this piece. The treatment it received in post gives it a beautiful yet dark glow. Despite being someone who has no inclination for gaming at all (due to being crap at them and a very bad loser) Avalon is probably the only game that could make me change my mind.

Why not plug in (the DVD) and see for yourself?



Avalon by Mamoru Oshii
Released by Miramax Films in 2001