Happy late Thanksgiving, everyone. Sorry I'm a little late.I was busy yesterday and unable to update anything. I thought it would be pretty cool to share my Thanksgiving day with all of you and invite you to share what you did in the comments.
First, let me start off by saying what I'm thankful for. Obviously, for my family, for the little one on the way, and for their overall health. They help focus me on my writing and always striving to be better, for myself and for them. I'm thankful for the books I have read which inspired me to take up the craft for myself. I'm thankful for this beautiful world around us all and for the fact that I get to hike and camp in it as often as I do. And, of course, I'm thankful for all of you who help make my dream a reality. Without readers, I would be writing stories only for myself.
I'll do you the favor of skipping all the boring bits like me preparing the dish I would bring to my families house, or the drive over, or even talking with family. What I want to share with you was pretty fun and pretty cool.
My older step brother brought over a really cool piece of technology for us to try out. It's something I've always wanted to try and was very excited when I saw it. He brought with him the HTC Vive. If you aren't familiar with what that is, it's a virtual reality headset. It's one of the better ones on the market. It actually has censors which track your movements and give you a virtual box in which to interact with the games. There are also two hand held controllers that look like overturned ladles.
After watching countless family members have their fun with their VR experience, each of them trying a different game to keep it interesting, I finally got my turn. My step brother thought it would be cool to have me play a surgeon simulator game. It booted up and I was in a virtual room with an operating table in the center. If you've never experienced VR before like this it might sound a bit strange when I tell you it really feels like you're in the room. Yes, the worlds are animated so you know they aren't real, you know it's virtual, but the experience is so immersive that your brain actually believes you are there.
I stepped up and leaned over, looking at the guy on the table, which was a character from Team Fortress 2 if you know what that is, and spotted a white rib cage covering his lungs and heart. The object was to give the poor man a heart transplant. To my right, I spotted a refrigerator. First, I opened the freezer. There was nothing much of importance inside, but let me tell you about the act of grabbing in this virtual world. For this game, the on screen display of the controllers look like hands and in order to grab things you need to close your palms around the handle of the controller almost as if you are grabbing an object. So, when you grab the handle of the fridge and pull it open, you practically feel like you are. It's a strange and awesome feeling.
Inside the fridge, I found a few bottles of wine, two hearts, and a sandwich. Thinking the patient was hungry, I grabbed the sandwich and stuffed it in his mouth. It was a funny and slightly disturbing sight. With that, I shut the fridge and turned to my left. A few feet away stood a table with a myriad of instruments strewn about. There were surgical instruments meant for cutting bone and extracting organs in the safest way as to not harm the patient. Instead, I grabbed for the baseball bat. I found it was a very effective tool for opening the sternum.
After the first task was finished, I proceeded to reach my hand into the virtual chest and accidentally removed the lungs. I assumed he didn't need these and tossed them across the room. For some unknown reason, there was a pigeon perched on a shelf and I threw it at the bird for a direct hit. The bird was fine but it didn't seem to like it.
Then, I grabbed for the machete, no self respecting doctor would be without one of course, and went about the delicate task of removing the patient's heart. Since the organ was presumably damaged, I also tossed it across the room. There is something satisfying about throwing objects in VR.
Opening up the fridge, I removed the small heart and stuffed it into the open cavity and realized I had no idea what to do next. The lungs were all the way across the room, the ribs were in pieces, and the heart was no longer attached. The sandwich was still in the guys mouth so I considered it a success. He died shortly after that. I guess I wasn't cut out to be a surgeon.
But, the experience was so cool. You know nothing is real and yet you feel like everything you see and touch is real. It's the coolest sensation I've felt playing a video game. Yes, it's a bit gimmicky and the cord attached to the computer in the room tends to get in the way while you're walking around, but it's so much fun. The way our brains work is so amazing. In fact, I tried to step up on a structure that wasn't there instead of just walking through it. You know you can't step up on it but your brain tells your leg to lift. If you don't force yourself not to, you will do it automatically.
I played a few other games but that surgeon one was probably the most entertaining. If I had a video of my experience I would show you. It really was a lot of fun. If you know someone who has the Vive, check it out. It's worth your time, at least in my experience.
So, that was the neat thing I did with my family on Thanksgiving. It might be a little strange to most people but that's my family, we're odd. What about you? What did you do on your Thanksgiving? Please, I would love to know how you all celebrate your holiday. Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to reading them. I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and as always, thanks for reading!
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.