Standing in VR is cool. You feel like you are really standing in a virtual world. And for small experiences and mini-games, this is fine. But for something like the new Half-Life: Alyx, standing for hours and hours, plus crouching a lot, can start to make you feel sore and tired. So I just sat down. I recommend it.
If you get a chance to play Half-Life: Alyx, you should stand at first. It is cool to bend down and grab something or actually crawl through a hole in the wall or duck behind a car for cover from gunfire.
But soon, you might start to feel your knees and back tingle with pain. It happened to me. I placed a cushion pad under my feet while I played to help save my feet and knees, and it did, for a bit. But eventually, the strain of standing for hours became too much and I had to stop playing.
The thing is, I didn’t want to stop playing. This is a new Half-Life game! After waiting over a decade for this damn game and having to borrow a Valve Index and set it all up, I wasn’t ready to stop playing after only three hours. So I messed with a few settings and got the game set up in a way that let me play sitting down in my comfy office chair.
I’ll admit that, at first, this was strange. Sitting down while Alyx ran around the world felt weird. I almost felt guilty. But with my body no longer being strained and no pain in my knees, I could play for hours. I also found that I was able to focus more on the world and puzzles.
Before sitting, I would whip through areas quickly, trying to get as far as I could before my back or feet starting becoming too sore and I had to stop. This meant I missed a lot of the details crammed into the levels of Half-Life: Alyx. It also meant that some puzzles and combat encounters were much harder because I was, you know, suffering in pain.
But sitting down to play Alyx, I could slow down and truly explore areas. I could, for example, spend way too much time looking at the new vortiguant models or picking at a dead headcrab. I also read newspapers and magazines scattered around City 17.
I also found that having a button that let me crouch extremely low to the ground was very handy in firefights and when solving some puzzles. I’m tall and getting down and up, with a big VR headset on and expensive controller in your hands, isn’t fun. So being able to click the left stick to drop to the ground was fantastic.
For some who are more in shape or athletic, they will be able to play all of Alyx without needing a chair. And that’s nice for them. I’m happy for them. But I am not ashamed to admit that I prefer sitting for hours instead of standing for hours. I don’t think I’m alone. So, to those planning on playing Alyx or who are currently playing it, don’t feel bad if you need to take a break. Just grab a chair and take a seat. Then keep playing.
Alyx won’t judge you and neither will I.