VR rhythm games combine physical and mental exercise with fun


Ethan Cesario

Get your brain working with VR games.

by Ethan Cesario and Dalton Markel

VR rhythm games are very popular, with one of the most popular being “Beat Saber.” VR means virtual reality, and games are becoming more and more “real” as they advance in graphics and interaction.

Beat Saber revolves around the players having two lightsabers, like swords, and they must cut blocks that come towards them in the direction of the arrow on the blocks.  Along with that, players will have to move around to avoid incoming dangerous areas that will make them fail the level if touched.  This body movement means the players have elevated heart rates–both from movement and from increased excitement.

Rhythm games are similar to puzzles/problems that help people improve how they solve problems and how they access certain situations.

Beat Saber contains many original songs in the catalogs that can be played through along with other titles from other performers such as BTS and Imagine Dragons through  in-game purchases.

Another VR rhythm game is Synth Riders. It is similar to Beat Saber, but it is more precise. The player’s objective is to match the two colored spheres in their hands to match the correct color of the colored spheres (similar to the color of those in their hand) with the right color in the right position.

The game includes sections where the player must hold a colored sphere in the position and even move it along a line connected from the spheres about to reach them for as long as the colored line (same color as the sphere it’s connected to) extends until the next spheres.

Also the color of the spheres in the player’s hand and spheres they are about to touch, change color based on the beat of the song. When players practice, they get into a mental flow of matching and moving the spheres.  It’s excellent mental and physical exercise.

Another benefit of playing VR rhythm games is that it helps the person relax as the game flows smoothly. This is commonly referred to in rhythm games as “being in the flow .”When someone is “in the flow” it means they have become so used to repetitive motions and scenarios that have played out many times to a point where the person isn’t even really thinking when doing what they are doing which is what muscle memory is.

One of the downsides of playing VR would be motion sickness or headaches, but those usually happen when a person plays for long periods of time. It’s wise to take breaks every 30 minutes.

VR rhythm games are one of the many newest genres in games that are not only fun but also promote other health benefits,which are not commonly associated with games nowadays. As more of these games come out, we can hope that the science and psychology that helps video games become more of a way to relax and exercise becomes better and starts to become more mainstream.

So, in effect, VR games improve the brain–a good answer the next time a parent says, “These video games are rotting your brain!”