Virtual reality continues to make leaps and bounds immersing viewers in experiences that come as close to reality as possible. VR is ushering in a new form of media where scenarios or environments that in reality would be deemed dangerous, can be experienced from the comfort of their home. This is not the case for Sydney authorities that seem to think virtual reality can inspire reality, not the other way around.
Sydney police have expressed concern over a virtual reality experience that puts viewers on the side of a train crossing the Sydney Harbor Bridge and according to them may encourage real-life copycats.
Train Surf, which is being developed for Oculus Rift by Nicholas Eggleston, simulates the experience of train surfing in heavy traffic.
The Sydney police concern is not without merit as they have reported a spate of train surfing incidents in the city. It is interesting to think that a virtual reality experience inspired by a recent train surfing trend would then in turn inspire more train surfing. Incepted.
“My concern is it would encourage younger people to undertake similar activities, to copy what this application is proposing,” the Police Transport Commission’s Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell stated.
The developer of the VR Train Surf experience has created a compelling and safe train surfing experience and doesn’t agree with authorities.
Nicholas Eggleston states, “I think people have to understand there is a big difference between this game and the real world.”
“I wanted to use this as a tool for preventing or showing what bad behavior can do.”
“Young kids don’t necessarily see the risks, they just see the thrill. If there’s any way that I can potentially save someone’s life or even persuade them not to go down that path, that would be great.”
Along with Train Surf, Eggleston is also developing an experience titled Deck Dash, which allows viewers to play a game of Frogger with eight lanes of speeding traffic on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
The Train Surf virtual reality experience will be one of many that authorities or communities may frown upon. However, the potential for utilizing virtual reality to bring awareness for positive change like we saw with Toyota’s Distracted Driving experience may cause a greater impact and actually save lives.