Oculus Rift: Hands on with the new face of virtual reality

EVR, le dogfighter pour Oculus Rift en vidéo

Virtual reality helmets never quite caught on in the Nineties - largely because they were the size of deep sea diver's helmets, and left you seasick, headachey and feeling like you might go blind.

A new headset, Oculus Rift, might well be the gadget that sees "VR" finally catch on.

Testing it at this week's E3 gaming show in Los Angeles, it's a genuinely dizzying experience... in a good way.

CCP games, makers of the hit online game Eve Online, showed off a demo of a space shoot 'em up, EVR.

[Up close with Sony's next-gen games]

The goggles - around the size of ski goggles, with two screens directly in front of your eyes, fit snugly over your head, and you're immediately in the cockpit of a spacecraft.

You steer using a joypad, and move your head to look around as you fly. It's astonishingly immersive - and surprisingly easy to get to grips with. After a few moments of vertigo, your brain accepts it totally, and you're suddenly swooping through an asteroid field firing missiles at other players.

At a show loaded with over-the-top gaming technologies, EVR was one of the most instantly impactful - adding a new layer of immersion no super-powered graphics chip could match.

After three minutes, you do feel slightly wobbly - but no more so than walking out of a 3D film at the cinema.

The 3D screens completely cover your field of vision, with tall, iMAX-style screens, rather than the usual rectangles.

There is no escape - and no looking down to remind yourself where the ground is. Trying to stand up is an uncomfortable experience.

Once sat down, though, the goggles are stunning - better, bolder and bigger than any 3D cinema screen or TV, without an ‘edge’ to bring you back to reality.

You’re inside the video game - lunging forward with your head to move forward, with phone-style accelerometers telling the system what you’re doing.

It doesn’t look dignified - but you’re the one with the techno-goggles on, so you don’t care. Rift still has no confirmed price or release date - but more and more game companies are making demos for the device, so it is most definitely coming...