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From DOS to VR: Squirrel Monkey’s Wonders of the World Wide Web in virtual reality

We’re big fans of virtual reality and Ready Player One around here and elsewhere. Of course, some folks are doing interesting things in the realm of virtual and augmented reality. Today, we’re spotlighting Jo Luijten of Squirrel Monkey.

In an alternate reality somewhere, a television show — Wonders of the World Wide Web — visits the tube TVs of modern times with increasing frequency. Imagine a world in which Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Uber and just about any site or service you can think of existed in the ’80s or ’90s.

Now imagine each of these runs on DOS (disk operating system) and can be accessed on your own personal computer! It’s time to party like it’s 1989!

In our own reality, my pal Jo Luijten runs a YouTube channel called Squirrel Monkey. I recently wrote about him for the excellent newsletter Tedium with the issue called Command Line (published July 17, 2018). Since then, he’s been up to creating more Squirrel Monkey videos and is collaborating on a secret Tedium-related project with us. More on that, later, so stay tuned.

Recently, Jo took his work in a brand new direction: virtual reality! On the Squirrel Monkey YouTube channel, you can now watch 40 minutes of Wonders of the World Wide Web while exploring a cozy living room in glorious VR. Any virtual reality device should work for the standard experience, but Luijten will be making VR files for rigs like the Oculus Rift available soon.

Using a combination of Photoshop and After Effects. In Photoshop, he created the floor, ceiling and walls in the video above and turned them into a 3-D space in After Effects. Then it was just a matter of turning them into cubes of the image, adding the fireplace (with a chroma key) and tweaking it until it looked right. The overall effect is as if you’re sitting right there in a retro-inspired room, enjoying the various Wonders of the World Wide Web videos playing back on the television. A very nice touch, indeed.

In October, Luijten posted “Oculus Rift in the 90s,” his Wonders of the World Wide Web approach to how that device might have worked back then, demonstrating in glorious nostalgia vision:

These are only the tip of the iceberg, as I’m sure Jo has so much more in store for fans of his work. In the meantime, why not head on over to his channel and subscribe? While you’re at it, you can check out our retro commercials on Nostalgia Ward and sign up for our newsletter/zine. We’ll see you next time … ONLINE!

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About the author

David Buck

David Buck is an author, musician, copywriter, and voice over artist based in Colorado. His work has appeared on Nerdvana Media, The Nintendo Times, Star, EN World, SyFy Wire and across the web. In his spare time, he composes music, writes science fiction, and paints miniatures.

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