5 Best Demos to Show Oculus Rift Newbies

James Bruce 04-12-2014

The final version is still many months away, but there’s now thousands of high resolution second generation Oculus Rift developer kits Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 Review and Giveaway It’s been a year since the first Oculus Rift Development Kit was released, and it’s safe to say the world of gaming will never be the same again Read More in the hands of VR enthusiasts, and the march of Oculus releases continues along at an astonishing pace.


The Oculus Rift is a crowd pleaser, so if you’re planning on demoing it to your friends or family, here’s the best demos to show them. Here’s a range of experiences to cater for every type of audience.

Welcome to Oculus 2

The original Riftcoaster set in the grounds of the UDK castle used to be my first demo for anyone new to the Rift. It’s exhilarating, but a bit overpowering for most people, and consequently a lot of time their experience was promptly cut short by feeling like they need to throw up.

>Welcome to Oculus by TreyTek is a sedate introduction with a narrative element to demonstrate various VR concepts and types of experiences available. The on-rails journey feels like an incredibly well-made virtual museum ride, and shouldn’t induce even the tiniest bit of VR-sickness for newcomers. I’m calling it now – this is the new essential first demo – and satisfying enough for seasoned VR gamers, too. I’ve embedded the full experience in the video below, but I’d strongly suggest you download and check it out yourself if you have a DK2.

(Note: You’ll need the K-Lite codec pack installed first as the game includes an extensive amount of media)

Virtual Desktop + Winamp + Milkdrop Visualiser

For your hippy friends who enjoy the odd acid trip, they’ll love nothing more than getting lost in a 360 degree trippy music visualizer and some melodic trance.


Let’s break this down: Virtual Desktop is a free app that makes desktop use possible within VR. That alone is quite an astonishing feat – anyone who’s ever tried to navigate menus while squinting into one lens and even then only being able to see a quarter of the screen will understand how useful an app like Virtual Desktop actually is.

You can zoom in and out, and adjust the amount of screen wrap as it warps around you in a complete sphere. You could, I guess, write your master’s thesis in Microsoft Word using this, but instead, I’ll implore you to install the latest version of Winamp, which comes complete with Milkdrop music visualizer. Play some psytrance, enable the fullscreen visualizer, set Virtual Desktop to 400% zoom, and lie back. If you weren’t already tripping, you will be now.

New Retro Arcade

New Retro Arcade is a blast from the past: a fully functional gaming arcade, complete with classic games like Space Invaders and Arkanoid, a tape deck and box of tapes for classic 80s tunes, a bowling alley and basketball hoops. There’s even a load of Gameboys strewn around the place – also, completely functional, though you will need to find a well lit spot to play them.

Grab this one while you still can, as the legal status is somewhat … grey. The ROMs being played on the machines are all from the Gameboy Advance, so you may notice some slight differences to the actual originals – however, instructions are included to replace them.



Apparently, some people really like being scared – I’m honestly not sure why – but if one of your guests is a horror fan, this is a must-see. I would have liked to write a paragraph or two here explaining the game, but I just can’t – I downloaded it, and played for about a minute before noping out.

Nope, nope, nope.

What I can say is that it’s an incredibly well-made experience, with a detailed environment, good looking textures, immersive sense of presence, and it’s absolutely bloody terrifying. At the start, you can choose between three different environments, which I presume get progressively scarier. Best played with an Xbox 360 controller.

If you want to know exactly how scary this game is, I suggest you watch the video instead. These girls are far tougher than I am.


Sightline: The Chair

Ok, so the title doesn’t exactly inspire. It’s a chair – you sit in it – and things happen. The mechanics are unique though: you’re presented with various scenes which change as you look around. Is the kitchen table still there if no one is looking at it? Probably not.

This is great for demos because the user is fixed in the chair with a virtual body, and only able to look around – there’s no other interaction required, so no messing around with explaining buttons on a controller. It’s almost completely nausea-free, except for the final scene –  and for high throughput there’s a special 5-minute long looping demo mode.

These demos should be enough for anyone from your granny to hardened gamers, but if they want more then there’s always the Tuscany environment that’s included with the SDK download, a new and improved Riftcoaster HD, or these 5 mind-blowing Oculus Rift games 5 Oculus Rift Gaming Experiences That Will Blow You Away Now that the second generation of Oculus Rift development kit is out and in the hands of developers the world over, let's look at some of the best stuff that's hit the Rift so far. Read More .

Also, be sure to read up on all the great non-gaming ways the Oculus Rift is being used 5 Amazing Non-Gaming Ways People Are Using Oculus Rift "It's just a gimmick." That's what people said about the Wiimote, the Kinect, and more recently Google Glass, and that's what they're saying about the Oculus Rift. If you're one of them, I implore you... Read More , as a talking point for guests while they wait to have their turn.


Do you have a favourite demo to show off the Oculus Rift? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Image Credits: Franklin Heijnen Via Flickr

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Brad K
    March 7, 2015 at 4:09 am

    I'd like to add that the Vox Machinae demo is absolutely stunning. Giant Mechwarrior type robots? Check. Missiles? Check. Lasers? Check. Jumpjets? Yup. Add in an alien landscape that's actually a joy to roam around and we have a winner.

  2. Chinmay S
    December 6, 2014 at 5:38 am

    This is how game looks on Oculus Rift? 2 parts of the same thing? One for left eye and another for right eye. Why can't they just show single connected media like shows, movies etc..

    I can't understand anything in any Oculus Rift videos because of that horrible double thing.

    • James Bruce
      December 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

      It's designed so people who own a rift (but not that game) are able to put youtube full screen and view it on their device. Without a Rift, you can view the 3D effect and a single view by crossing your eyes.

    • Contrabardus
      December 23, 2014 at 6:02 am

      No, that's not how it looks when you're using the Rift.

      That's how 3D works. It uses two images, one for each eye, to create a single three dimensional picture. It's the same way it works in movie theaters on the 3D screens. The projector puts up two images on a special screen, and each lens in the 3D glasses allows each eye to see one of the two images.

  3. Brad Merrill
    December 5, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I can't wait to get my hands on a consumer version of the Rift. After just a few minutes with the developer edition, I'm all in. VR is the future of gaming, without a doubt.