An In-depth Review of the New York Times Virtual Reality App
Its been about five months since New York Times subscribers were blessed with the gift of a free Google Cardboard viewer with their Sunday edition. Since then, they’ve had a decent amount of content, some good, some not-so-good, but all worth a look at least once. Props to them for at least trying to enter the ever-widening door of virtual reality instead of being shut out and left in the sad, cold paper world.
The New York Times VR App has some of best content I’ve seen utilize the storytelling aspects of virtual reality. Thanks mostly to Chris Milk at VRSE we get to experience the sadness of children from war-torn countries to the realities of Ebola in Liberia (which by the way is still an outbreak not fully declared to be ended, in case you forgot. I know I did) . To sum up the app, its got stories, short documentaries, and other types of newsworthy 3D, 360 degree experiences, lots of content overlap with the VRSE app.
As of March 4, 2016 this is the complete list with my own thoughts:
- “10 Shots Across the Border“ – the killing of a Mexican teenager by the US Border Patrol (also has the full video in Spanish, “10 disparos a traves de la frontera“)
- “The Contenders” – be one of the crowd during a candidate’s campaign speech
- “American Bison” – witness roaming American bison. Beautiful landscapes.
- “Kiya” – a reenacted 911 call on domestic violence
- “Waves of Grace” – An Ebola survivor cares for orphaned children in her Liberian village. Great visuals of places in Liberia.
- “Take Flight” – weird flying experience with actors spookily hovering around you
- “The Displaced” – war stories of three displaced children from Syria, Sudan, and Ukraine. Makes you feel pretty spoiled that you’re watching them from a comfortable room with your $500 cell phone stuck to your face.
- “Vigils in Paris” – experience the candlelight vigils in honor of those who died during the Paris terrorist attacks
- “The Drop” – a short excerpt from “The Displaced” about experiencing a food drop
- “Walking New York” – a behind-the-scenes view of the creation of the block-long art featured on the NYT Magazine cover
- “Backwater” – heist and car chase sponsored by Mini – not that interesting and not good storytelling elements either
- “Nature is Inspiring Our Industrial Future” – exploring the connections between nature, humans, and what could be our future – sponsored by GE
I’ll keep updating this as things change on the app. Good luck to all you teachers experimenting with Google Cardboard in your classrooms. You are riding the wave of the future!