How to start playing VR games on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

VR games shouldn't be this confusing but we can help
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If you're one of the lucky ones who's received an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift in the mail, chances are you're slowly but surely making your way through the growing list of games and experiences Steam and the Oculus Home are offering.

As we noted in our Vive review, a lot of games still need polishing and while a few like Final Approach and Job Simulator do a good job at telling you how to land planes and 'cook' a meal for robot patrons, a surprisingly large amount just throw you into the thick of it without any precedent.

Read this: HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift

While it's nice that the developers think we're intelligent gamers, most of the time, it's just plain frustrating trying to figure out controls or how to simply start the VR game. It's even more irritating for complete VR newcomers who shouldn't have another barrier of entry to try out an experience.

We're still making our way through the Rift titles, but we've listed our most annoying and confusing moments below so you'll know how to start up a VR game on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift without feeling the need to table flip.

Warning: if you want to figure it out yourself, stop reading.

How to start playing VR games on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

Hover Junkers - It took a while for the UK office to figure this one out (while being shot at) - to get going, select the item pictured above and move it to the front control panel of your ship. Use the trackpad to move around menu options to bring up the map and then you can start driving. The US side of the team however, had a nice person explain the controls while in-game.

Surgeon Simulator VR - Look down. Really, that's all you need to do in order for the game to start going. We left a VR virgin to play this and minutes later they were still staring at the logo.

The Lab - Pick up an orb with the controllers then stick your head into it. This will transport you to the other games where starting each one up is a lot more self-explanatory. Side note: there are lots of fun things to explore in The Lab itself too.

How to start playing VR games on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift

#SelfieTennis - Zero instructions here. Double click the trigger to keep holding the tennis racket, then press the trigger in your other hand to release the ball. You can switch which hand holds what item as well by clicking the button above the touch pad.

Cloudlands: VR Minigolf - Hit the golf ball into the hole. You can change the size of the golf club by clicking the side button to open the settings.

Universe Sandbox 2 - We didn't realize how much we could do until after looking it up online. One controller's touch pad lets you add in various gasses while the other can move things around (though controls can be interchanged). After figuring that out, you can plop in more planets, speed up or slow down time and more.

What VR games have you found frustrating for their lack of tutorials? Let us know your woes, tips and tricks below.

Additional words by Sophie Charara


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Lily is a writer and editor specializing in tech, video games, marketing, education, travel writing, and creative fiction. 

She has over 10 years of experience covering the technology beat.

Lily has a passion for VR and AR technologies and was associate wearables editor at TechRadar US, before joining Wareable as US editor in 2016.

Lily will graduate in 2023 with an MFA in Creative Writing.

In her spare time, Lily can be found knee-deep in zine collaborations, novel writing, playing Dungeons & Dragons or hiking and foraging for mushrooms.

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