YouTube is as much a hub for reaction videos as it is a hub for videos that provoke a reaction. Want to watch strangers react to the Red Wedding, or to a marriage proposal, or to opening a Nintendo 64 on a late-’90s Christmas morning? The Tube has you covered. But those old videos (except the N64 one, which is just the greatest) now feel lacking because they cannot offer the emotive humiliation and hilarious pratfalls on display in virtual reality reaction videos, a genre set to explode this year as the Oculus hits the market.
Over the past two years, VR reaction videos have begun to encroach on the lands that used to be ruled by “Two Girls One Cup” screams. But with the commercial release of Samsung Gear VR in November, and Oculus coming soon, the number of potential subjects has increased. Given how dumb everyone looks with a VR headset covering their mug, the hit rate for these initial avant garde works has been notably high.
VR reaction videos fall, broadly, into three categories:
If there were a medium perfected for the jump scare, virtual reality is it. Your eyes and ears, depending on the gear you’re wearing, are more or less cut off from the real world, leaving you alone with the pixelated demons du jour.
On the downside, these tend to go on for interminable lengths — or at least involve people with much better skin than us — so be warned.
Virtual Porn Porn
Because virtual reality is a visual stimulus, it has porn. At the moment VR porn is, perhaps, sketchier than its non-360 equivalent if only because camera skill is not usually a requirement for filming porn; if done improperly, however, bad VR visuals can make the viewer puke his guts out. Watchable VR porn exists, but among the population of porn watchers the VR porn consumer is currently something of an outlier. Publications like Complex, bless its prurient heart, love to exploit this, introducing VR porn to viewers as diverse as:
- Young People
- Fetty Wap
Because VR hasn’t saturated the market yet, expect a lot of first-timers trying not VR porn but VR itself. If you go in with low or no expectations, VR can be super impressive — particularly for people for whom previous forays into virtual reality left something to be desired. (This is a bit of a personal favorite VR trope, having shown off the Gear VR Jurassic World: Apatosaurus demo to intergenerational family acclaim over the holidays.)
In August, for instance, YouTuber Austin Hooper shared a video of his dad living out his dream of landing on the moon in VR. “When he got to experience the closest thing to it, it hit him, and it hit hard,” Hooper told Inverse.
And when VR (or even Google Cardboard) hits, it pulls no punches: