My Neighbour Totoro Virtual Reality Experience

Posted June 8, 2014 by in All

All Demos: ,
 
 
 
 
Developer: Nick Pittom
 
Demo Release Date: 02-06-2014
 
Version: 1.2
 
Type: Experience
 
Platform: PC, MAC, Linux
 
HMD: Oculus Rift
 
Download: Click here
 
Control Schemes: Keyboard & Mouse, Xbox Controller
 

Best Part:

Cat-bus!
 

Worst Part:

You have no body
 
Bottom Line

This scene from My Neighbour Totoro is even better than the already enchanting Spirit Away Boiler Room from the same dev. An instant classic experience.

Rating

Graphics
 
 
 
 
 


Sound
 
 
 
 
 


Controls
 
 
 
 
 


Gameplay
 
 
 
 
 


Comfort Level
 
 
 
 
 


Immersion
 
 
 
 
 


Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

by Edmund
Full Article

Nick Pittom’s loving recreation of the Spirited Away Boiler Room scene is an enduring favourite Oculus Rift demo.

It achieves a powerful sense of presence, while maintaining fidelity to the Ghibli animation style, making it strikingly different from other experiential demos that strive for realism.

The new My Neighbour Totoro Virtual Reality demo is even better than Boiler Room. For a start, the Totoro Bus Stop scene is simply much more iconic that the Boiler Room set from Spirited Away. It makes sparing use of interactivity to pace the experience and make you feel more like you are in a scene from a movie than just walking around an animation on loop.

The increased focus on character provides an opportunity to demonstrate Keith Sizemore’s impressive animation talent – everything looks and feels very true to the movie. Totoro himself is just incredible – he looks perfect from every angle – benevolent and friendly with a tiny hint mildly threatening. On a first play-through, you’ll find yourself torn between wanting to stand next to him to re-enact the scene and wanting to cross the road to frame the bus stop shot from the film. Of course, Cat-bus is also a surrealist treat that is wonderful to behold in first person.

It is kind of a shame that unlike in the Spirited Away demo, you don’t have a body. That being said, I can see how this could have posed challenges given the object interaction. Also, in this scene in the movie Satsuki is carrying an umbrella and her little sister – inclusion of these details could easily have obstructed your view and distracted from the main experience of encountering Totoro. The only other issue is that when the Cat-Bus does arrive it is easy to break the immersion by excitably clipping into parts of it in an attempt to board. If you can control yourself, though, the experience is enchanting from start to finish.

Nick Pittom has already begun preliminary work on an original full VR game called Decay Theory. An ambitious sci-fi epic that sounds like it may take some inspiration from TellTale’s adventure games. The prospect of this is certainly exciting but, it may be some way off. In the mean time he plans to produce one final scene in the vein of the previous two Ghibli demos. This last scene will be from Cowboy Bebop and will aim to explore dialogue and gameplay in VR. If this talented developer continues on this trajectory, then Decay Theory is going to be a must-play experience when it is released.

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About the Author

Edmund

Edmund Ward is a philosophy graduate who has focused on aesthetics and cultural critique in the information age. He grew up with 'the dream of the holodeck' and is prone to get very excited by new innovations in natural user-interfaces. Edmund is currently looking for volunteers to look after the glucose drip that will sustain his "fleshform" (as he insists on calling it) when he migrates permanently to VR.

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