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Choose to Go to the Moon

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    Apollo 11 VR Experience

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Choose to Go to the Moon

    Concept: Experience a virtual reality (VR) educational game based on the Apollo program, focusing on the Apollo 11 mission. The game takes the player from JFKs’ speech to the Saturn 5 launch pad, then through the entire Apollo 11 flight, culminating with a moonwalk, and ending with landing into the ocean. Take control of the command module, and lunar lander to simulate critical maneuvers, including landing on the moon. Ultimately walk within the Sea of Tranquility in virtual reality with Niel Armstrong.

    Graphics: Simple graphics, yet breathing taking in the immersive VR environment. Spacecraft are modeled as realistic as possible allowing one to fully appreciate the small the spacecraft interiors and the gigantic Saturn 5 rocket. During the moonwalk, details such as missing footprints and a repetitive lunar texture undermine the immersive experience. Floating above the Earth outside any spacecraft is both breathtaking and unnerving. The world constantly vibrates; simulating take off and re-entry well, but is distracting during the moonwalk. These constant, yet subtle vibrations could induce motion sickness.

    Sound: The game includes the speech from President John F. Kennedy declaring the intention to go the moon, and throughout the entirety of the game one hears conversations between the astronauts and NASA.

    Control: Simple controls are given to the player at three specific points during the experience, twice during critical space maneuvers, and a moonwalk. The physics involved during the space maneuvers is accurate, and the difficulty of the maneuvers lends some appreciation for the piloting skills of the astronauts. Freedom is given to the player to move, jump, and warp between points to explore the lunar surface. Other wise this game is a ride, but feeling present within the command module during taking off and re-entry is amazing.

    Game Time: Approximately 2 hours for an interactive play through. The interactive sections are optional if one simply wants to experience this game as a VR movie, and thus finish the game faster.

    As advertised this game is an educational experience while providing several limited simulations. Hearing the speech from President JFK as well as the actual NASA communications with the astronauts brings the player back to the 1960’s to fully appreciate this awesome achievement. While on the surface of the moon one can find models and short audio lectures detailing the experiments conducted by the astronauts on all the Apollo missions.

    Recommendation: Fantastic educational experience, both for those familiar and new to the Apollo program. The price tag can be steep for a 2-hour experience, but worth it for anyone desiring a better sense of what it was like to be within and control these infamous spacecraft.

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