Sitting around camp fires telling stories evokes a primal feeling.
It’s something the human race has been doing for aeons, and it surely helped to develop human speech patterns and increase our intelligence. Storyteller: Fireside Tales, is a unique demo for the Oculus Rift, that attempts to recreate the experience of sitting around a fire listening to stories. It does this by loading audio book files, then playing them through an animated hermit who sits and reads from a book.
Get the right audio book and the experience works really well. You’ll find yourself sitting on a wooden bench in a vast cave that’s only lit by the camp fire. Water drips down the cave walls, a few patches of grass manage to grow through the dirt, and off in the distance you can see outside where birds occasionally fly past a dusk sky. There’s a nice sense of place, and the scale feel realistic. Shortly after sitting back and listening the audio book, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in this primeval world.
However, if you load the wrong type of audio book then it all falls apart. One of the demo books features the voices of both a man and woman, making for a comical experience when the hermit starts to talk with two distinct voices. Another audio book is set in the modern world, making the story elements jar with the prehistoric environment; but if you find a classical tome, or manage to suspend your disbelief, then the experience works wonderfully.
There are some nice control options too. You can create a bookmark by pressing the 0 numpad key, and cycle through multiple bookmarks by simply pressing the up or down arrow keys. As a result you can quit the demo and come back another time without having to listen to an entire audio book again.
You can download Storyteller: Fireside Tales for free from The Rift Arcade Market. If you enjoy listening to audio books and want to experience something totally unique, then it’s definitely work checking out.