nerve gear

Oculus founder has created a VR headset that kills losers IRL

By Olivia Richman


Nov 8, 2022

Reading time: 3 min

Some things just make us wonder, “Why?”

One recent thing to make us question everything we know in life is an Oculus system that kills you in real life if you die in a game. Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey decided to create this shocking video game after seeing a similar device used in Sword Art Online.

According to an unhinged blog post from Luckey himself, “the popularity of SAO led to massive otaku enthusiasm for Oculus, especially in Japan.” This allegedly made the concept within Sword Art Online “far more plausible” somehow. And Luckey was starting to get asked when he would create the device, known as NerveGear, in real life. The Oculus was the closest thing to the deathly game gear in SAO, leading fans to apparently want Luckey to make this happen.

And it sounds like they asked the right person.

Wrote Luckey: “The idea of tying your real life to your virtual avatar has always fascinated me — you instantly raise the stakes to the maximum level and force people to fundamentally rethink how they interact with the virtual world and the players inside it.”

How to create a VR headset that kills you

While excellent graphics make a game look more real, it still doesn’t feel real since there are no serious consequences. This has never been explored, Luckey said. Gee, we wonder why. But for the strange few that are hoping to explode while playing Elden Ring, you’re in luck.

“The good news is that we are halfway to making a true NerveGear  The bad news is that so far, I have only figured out the half that kills you.  The perfect-VR half of the equation is still many years out,” Luckey revealed.

In Sword Art Online, the NerveGear had a microwave emitter that could reach lethal levels. But Luckey couldn’t figure out how to make that work despite being a “pretty smart guy.” Instead, Luckey decided to use three explosive charge modules (apparently from another project he’s working on…), The charges are tied to a narrow-band photosensor that detects when the screen flashes red. When a game over screen is displayed, the payload fires, which instantly kills the VR user.

Blog post image

To the shock of many, “this isn’t a perfect system.” Luckey has to tamper with it a bit in order to not wrongfully kill people that didn’t die in the game. Now that would be a tragedy. The only way to safely ensure that it’s just losers who get exploded, Luckey said, is to tie the NerveGear to some “high-intelligence agent” that can determine if the conditions for termination are accurate. Only then would Luckey dare try out the NerveGear himself.

Until then, Luckey is keeping the gamer killer around as “a piece of office art.” He described it as “thought-provoking,” explaining that it’s currently an unexplored avenue in game design. It seems like Luckey is on the forefront of a new way of gaming, paving the way for new VR technology that kills its users in even more exciting ways.

In the future, there may no longer be noobs in your Call of Duty lobby and feeders in your ranked League of Legends games. Only the best gamers will survive to play again. Until then, have fun being terrible. You may not be able to enjoy bringing your teammates down forever.


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