This year’s Rezzed event was a bit of a special one for me for two reasons: I had the opportunity to volunteer on the stand for SpecialEffect, and it was the first time we’d taken my stepson Ethan to the show. My other-half Pete and I had held off on doing so previously as we felt he was a little too young for the experience but, as he’s due to reach the grand-old-age of ten very soon and is really getting into his gaming, it seemed like it was now appropriate.
During our journey to Tobacco Dock he threw hundreds of questions at us so we told him what to expect. We also explained there’d be a number of games at the event that could be played using virtual reality (VR) and he should try it out; but being the cautious child he is sometimes, he wasn’t entirely convinced this would be a good idea. Still, Ethan was buzzing with excitement by the time we got him into London and literally dragged us all the way to the venue from the train station.
The plan was for me to volunteer for the morning and then meet the boys for lunch, before spending the rest of the afternoon playing various video games with them. A couple of hours after the start of the show they made their way to the SpecialEffect stand so while my stepson tried out Abzu using a chin-controller, I asked Pete how they’d been getting on. It turned out that Ethan had actually been brave enough to try VR – couldn’t get enough of it in fact, and wanted to queue up all over again.
The game that made him change his mind about it was Giant Cop by Other Ocean, a satirical narrative-driven title set in a funky 70s-style open-world. Players are given the freedom to fight crime in a big way – literally – as they step into the shoes of Giant Cop on the first day on the job. Your size is used to your advantage as you tower high above the streets and enforce the law, using your wits to uncover a criminal plot that threatens the future of Micro City.
The environment is split into districts, each with a distinct identity where pedestrians react to your moves, and you’re tasked with missions such as cleaning up neighbourhood crimes like noise complaints and keeping pesky protests under control. There’s even a mission which sees you ridding the city of the savage cabbage: during his second go, we watched Ethan pick up tiny hooligans and shake them to check whether they were hiding the evil vegetables in their pockets. And if they were, they were flung straight into the Metro City Police Station jail – again, literally.
I think that’s one of the reasons why my stepson enjoyed Giant Cop so much; everything looks incredibly tactile and there are so many objects with which you can interact. When you’re bored of throwing wrong-doers through the air you can show everyone how groovy you are by shaking maracas or fire a dart-gun with suction-cup bullets that stick to everything. Marketing and Consumer Sales Manager Gillian Hickman even directed Ethan towards a huge doughnut and told him to eat it: we couldn’t help but laugh at the chewing actions he was making in real-life and the tiny fist-pump which was replicated on-screen.
We’d like to say a big thank you to Gillian and the rest of the Other Ocean team who were at Rezzed event. They really made Ethan’s day: they were so patient with him and answered all of his questions, and even let him play the last demo of the show (his third go on Giant Cop) which pleased him to no end. When I asked him what he thought of the event the following morning, here’s what he said:
It was one of the best conventions I’ve ever been to. Some of the people were so friendly and I’d definitely go there again. My favourite game I played was Giant Cop because it was my first virtual experience ever and the developers were lovely. I’d definitely buy it.
The game will release shortly on the Oculus Rift and Touch, with other VR platforms coming in future months. Head over to the official website for more information and follow the Other Ocean team on Twitter to stay up-to-date on their progress.
Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.