Bong rips and “always blue” in VR.
HBO’s Silicon Valley is getting a VR experience and it couldn’t be more spot on.
Considering the last season was riddled with VR references, including tech wonderkid Keenan Feldspar—played by Haley Joel Osment as the not so subtle nod to Oculus’ Palmer Luckey, it comes as no surprise that the Emmy Award winning hit is launching a VR experience of its own.
In case you weren’t already living the life of Silicon Valley (I know a few of you are), HBO has partnered with VR studio Rewind to put you in the heart of the show—the hacker hostel. The real-time VR experience, which I got a sneak peek on the HTC Vive at the VR On The Lot conference in LA, takes you into the hacker pad where the show’s main characters live, work, and just screw around.
Silicon Valley: Inside The Hacker Hostel is a highly detailed recreation of their live work space, letting you navigate every room, interact with objects, and even have firsthand one-on-one encounters with Richard (Thomas Middleditch), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), Gilfoyle (Martin Starr), Big Head (Josh Brener) and Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang).
Upon entering the front door in VR, you feel like you’re about to go on a virtual real-estate tour, only this homeowner never cleaned up after himself and accidentally left a bong out on the living room table. Reconstructed using photos and blueprints from the set, you can navigate from room to room. But the best part is being able to interact with objects, letting you practically pick up anything, like a beer bottle or monitor, and toss it across the room. It’s like Job Simulator, but instead of being a chef or mechanic, you’re a developer looking for your next inappropriate distraction.
Although I was only able to demo for five minutes, you could probably be in Silicon Valley: Inside The Hacker Hostel for hours. The experience is packed full of items you can interact with, 756 to be exact. There’s a foosball table that incorporates AI that you can compete against and a fully playable piano which replicates a real-world piano note for note. At one point I found myself tossing a ball in the air to see how many times I could get “always blue” “always blue” “always blue.” In a stroke of pure genius, Gilfoyle’s desk had a short puzzle game that had me drilling holes in hard drives, where my objective was to corrupt all the data.
Then there were the more surprising interactions to see in a VR experience that made this everything. The hacker hostel’s living room had a two-foot bong that you could spark up and take some Erlich Bachman sized rips from. With one hand on the bong and the other on a lighter, you could see and hear the chamber fill up with smoke. And with a big exhale, you’re blowing a giant smoke ring from your virtual mouth. Another part of the the hacker hostel also let you take shots of tequila. The crazy part of both, whether you drank to much or smoked long enough, the screen would start to distort, simulating the feeling of the room spinning.
And for you Jian-Yang fans, you’ll be delighted to come across a demo of the Not Hot Dog app (and snack on the test food). For the most part, the team nailed the experience, making sure all your favorite references make it into VR. The cast even worked on the VR project too, who you’ll see make cameos throughout.
As I went from room to room, throwing items and eating food in the office, all I kept hearing was the voice of Dinesh, “so you wanna have a meeting where all the food is while we eat all our food where all the computers are.” Totally ridiculous, love it.
Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel is expected to drop sometime in November on a VR headset near you.