Can VR make certain genres popular again?

Can VR make certain genres popular again?

Virtual Reality is off and running now thanks to the release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, among ongoing developments with other competitors. That means that not only are contemporary genres catching up and new ones being created to exploit the medium's unique strengths and downplay its weaknesses, but it might be time to look at genres of the past which might benefit from it.

Indeed perhaps with a new, virtual perspective, some genres of gaming's history might actually be better suited than they ever were on a 2D display.

But which ones?

Light gun shooters

Light gun games seem like a good place to start. Although this genre was once a popular addition in arcades, and still is with the odd off-color cabinet, it did also see some success in the home too, with the likes of Time Crisis and House of the Dead porting well to systems that could utilise a light gun or similar home-controller.

However in recent years, the genre has almost completely died off. Despite the Wii's potential to aid its comeback, the lack of accuracy made it problematic and the enhanced cost of set up meant that few really gave it its due.

That all might change with virtual reality. Although the on-rails nature of these sorts of games would likely need to be adjusted to avoid problems with nausea, the twin wand controllers of the Vive lend themselves perfectly to twin gun gameplay and the same with Oculus Touch when they are eventually released.

The games wouldn't need much space to move around, negating the need for a big room-scale set up, but could utilise cover and other mechanics with simple movements. You could even have players reach over their back to 'grab' new weapons.

Better yet, we've already seen these sorts of games in action. Space Pirate Trainer, Jeeboman, Hordez, all of these games use the twin gun mechanic and could easily be adapted with a larger story. Arizona Sunshine may give us that in-fact, so there's lots to look forward to.

Point and click

Point and click games could make an impressive comeback with virtual reality too. Valve's secret shop already showed us what a fully realised, 3D environment with lots to find and see can be like in virtual reality, so why not a whole game like that?

Better yet, let's remake some of the classics. Who here wouldn't play Monkey Island 1-3 if the environments were remade as teleportable, 3D areas? In-fact, even if they weren't games, but just had some of the environments recreated in virtual reality I'd be over the moon.

Still, even if that never comes to pass because of licensing issues or not wanting to repaint the past, the potential future for point and click games is huge. Finding items in VR is much more exciting than hovering your mouse over the screen and endlessly trying to combine items.

Better yet, get Telltale to do it and we can have some in-depth voice acting and story to it too.

Rhythm games

Of all genres however that seem most likely to benefit from VR, it's rhythm games that strikes me as the most exciting. Once the darling of the console world and now seeing some resurgence, rhythm games almost completely disappeared at the end of the '00s, but in virtual reality they could become something oh so much more.

There is already talk of development for Rock Band VR, which is set to arrive at some point this year, though details remain rather thin. Presumably it'll offer the same sort of guitar and band based experience as previous generations of Rock Band games, which is exciting, though potentially expensive if it requires additional controllers.

The drums could work right off the bat though, as every player comes with virtual sticks in the form of the wand controllers. Still, a proper drum kit would be amazing with VR overlaying its position in the real world – if you can get the placement right.

The other exciting avenue of rhythm games though is new developments. Audioshield is already one of the best games you can play in virtual reality and shows a whole new way to enjoy music. It mixes music listening with a workout and dance simulator and is wonderfully immersive and quite emotive at times.


There are a lot of exciting potential developments coming down the pipeline in VR and these are just a few of the genres we could see making a comeback.

Are there any in particular you'd like to see make a resurgence?