Hockey VR works with wonderful new peripheral

by Guy Frum

We were all guilty at some point, of course. We decided it was a good idea to throw a football, dribble a basketball, sling a Frisbee, or get in a few good practice swings inside the house one day after school.
Before you could say “grounded for the rest of your life,'' there was the inevitable crash of Mom’s favorite antique crystal vase, the priceless family heirloom, or Aunt Edna’s ashes on the mantle tumbling to the ground and smashing into a million pieces.
It seems like Oculus Quest is hell bent on having you relive those memories as an adult. At least, that seems to be the company’s reasoning in creating Hockey VR from Melcher Studios.
The game itself is affordable and simple, costing just US $3.99. But here’s the trick. There’s also a peripheral for sale called the RealStick. You can take this clip and hang the ring of an Oculus Touch controller over the handle of a genuine hockey stick and then hold the stick instead of the controller.
Suddenly it’s game on and you just went from being yourself to a virtual-reality wearing home version of Wayne Gretzky.

The RealStick

The RealStick costs CAD$14.99 - that’s Canadian dollars if you’re confused, not that you should be considering hockey is to Canada what oxygen is to survival - you can’t have one without the other, really.
Really once you know it exists, why would you play the game any other way?
Let’s face it, as cool as VR sports games have been over the years, there’s definitely something lacking when you throw an imaginary football through the air, swing a non-existent golf club, or run in place as you prepare to leap over virtual hurdles.
Having a controller that emulates the real implement from the sport you are playing significantly upgrades the realism factor. 

This is especially true in a sport like hockey, where the stick is an iconic part of the game itself.
Like the bat in baseball or the racket in tennis, having the weight of the tool - even if it’s just a loose proximity of the real thing - in your hands can make the game more fun and easier to master as well.

The RealStick is in the same line as HTC’s Vive Tracker, or going all the way back to Rock Band VR’s Oculus Touch clip for the Rock Band guitar. These tactile, immersive extras can really sink you into the game with the headset on and keep you from remembering you’re just standing in the kitchen flapping your arms back and forth.
The hockey game itself has lots of cool features, practicing your shooting skills in a bunch of different environments including the traditional hockey arena, an outdoor rink, or - perhaps coolest of all - a frozen lake in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.