Into the cozy but spooky world of VR bedrooms
Feeling safe is crucial for relaxation and sleep, even if you’re alone in your own bed at home.
I walked into a bedroom one day and immediately heard a child’s voice in my ear. The kid, who had a robot avatar, tried unsuccessfully to engage me with a medieval knight in conversation. (My avatar was a stick of butter with a little top hat, because why not?) Exasperated, the robot floated to the corner where about seven avatars lay peacefully together, seemingly asleep. The child’s voice then taunted them, “I’m going to kill you. I will literally kill you.
The Metaverse is well known to be teeming with underage users, and my trip to the Sleep Rooms has confirmed that children often pop up ominously in these adult spaces. Another sleep room I visited was invaded by childish voices speaking Spanish and French. I took an elevator to a “rooftop” where I found a red-lighted nook with plush, velvety canapes. “Hi, I like your avi (avatar),” a childish voice said behind me. I spun around to find another robot avatar talking to what appeared to be a scarecrow. “I like yours too,” said a man’s voice. “Want a hug?” The child flew away and I followed suit, annoyed.
Schwerd told me that he had also seen children in dormitories. “Minors are definitely a nuisance,” he says. But he insisted that most bedrooms were quiet and “respectful”.
As I walked around, I mostly found that to be true. Some bedrooms I fell into were empty and silent. Others had avatars huddled together, sound asleep. Still others had clusters of avatars huddled together, awake but quiet, some whispering, others just relaxing. I often felt the need to mumble “Excuse me” and tiptoe around, forgetting that since I was a stick of butter adrift in a room full of avatars, few would hear me or know me. would care.
I couldn’t fall asleep in VR. I was extremely aware of my surroundings and found the headset on my face uncomfortable. But while I found some rooms disturbing, I discovered bedrooms that were quiet and peaceful, places to just sit and be. In the real world, I struggle to find quiet places to relax, and if nothing else, virtual bedrooms have given me space and time to lay back and watch the stars. .
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