VR experiences welcome users into virtual worlds for education and entertainment purposes, immersing them into settings of the developer’s own design. Games like the recently announced Dungeon Chess take a simple table-top experience and project it into a VR space with special effects, ultimately providing an intimate gaming experience that brings players together that may actually be thousands of miles apart. Programs like Tilt Brush give the user creative tools to shape a virtual space or create works of art within, but there are other experiences that are blending all of these ideas together, even through the use of something as simple as a maze.
We recently covered Audi’s Sandbox 2.0, an advertising experience that allows you to harness your childlike creativity in a play area, have it brought into VR, and drive around your creation in Audi’s new car. Seedling, a company focused on children’s creativity through hands-on games and crafts, is utilizing VR for a similar idea with their Maze game.
In Maze, players build a wooden marble maze by placing wall blocks and adhesive stickers onto the board. Once you get your paths, dead ends, and hole traps in place, you can use the Maze app to scan in your custom built maze and journey into it with a cardboard VR viewer.
We had a chance to ask questions about the game’s concept with Seedling’s Chief Product Officer Rachel Rutherford.
UploadVR: What inspired the decision to blend a classic game with virtual reality?
Rachel Rutherford: At Seedling, we’re always thinking about how to play with creative materials, whether they are tactile or virtual. When figuring out how technology will play a part in the experience, it’s most important that the technology isn’t an afterthought. For Maze in particular, we were looking at games or activities that can be reinvented and designed their own way – like a marble maze – while also brainstorming interesting ways to design your own VR adventure. Then the two came together!
UploadVR: Do you believe family oriented concepts like Maze are crucial to VR’s growth?
Rachel Rutherford: I think for families, it’s all about figuring out how to play together. With Maze, it’s a great coffee table or kitchen table game for everyone to participate in, and then because you can race with others in the app, it becomes a social VR experience. I think VR can naturally extend past single-player experiences and I think this is crucial in getting parents (and grandparents) excited to bring it into the home.
UploadVR: How crucial is the VR integration to the experience? Could it potentially grow in the future?
Rachel Rutherford: What’s exciting about the VR integration is it opens the possibilities of extending the play even further. With new releases of the app, we can create additional maze themes and more exciting game customizations, creating a compelling reason to revisit the game. We’ll continue to blend the effects of the physical and digital mazes and see how else we can allow for kids to personalize their experience, both in and out of VR. When we talk to kids who are playing with Maze, the VR experience is what makes them excited to come back and share it with others, so we definitely want to build on that momentum.
MAZE is available on the Seedling website for $59.99. The base game includes a wooden marble maze, 45 wooden wall blocks, 5 reusable paper grids, adhesive stickers, and 3 marbles. The MAZE application is available on iOS and Google Play.