British television presenter Rachel Riley shows a virtual-reality headset called Gear VR in 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

British television presenter Rachel Riley shows a virtual-reality headset called Gear VR in 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Ready or not, virtual is finally becoming a reality

TV viewers of the 1990s might remember an episode of “Mad About You” where Paul, the dopey but lovable husband, invests in a virtual reality system and uses it to fulfill his fantasy of meeting Christie Brinkley.

That was 1994, and while Christie Brinkley hasn’t aged, the rest of us have gotten 22 years older without virtual reality (VR) catching on. Like flying cars and X-ray glasses, VR is the unkept promise of the technology world. I should be sitting on a beach, sipping mai tais with virtual Scarlett Johansson, but instead our tech companies have been churning out iPhones, iPads, iPods and iPotties.

Until now, that is.

By all accounts, VR is the hottest thing in tech because A) it’s the next frontier in video games; B) every major player in tech is working on it; and C) headsets already on the market are tantalizingly close to a true immersive experience.

In our latest poll at, we asked how you feel about VR. A whopping 60 percent said they’re not interested. Maybe they’ve grown cynical after years of broken promises, or perhaps they prefer low-tech lives.

Among the rest, 18 percent said they’re excited about virtual reality; 14 percent were uncertain, and 8 percent apprehensive. There are good reasons to feel all three.

  • Excited, because VR has the potential to let us feel as if we’re anywhere. You could be at work, in a Disney movie or at a Beyoncé concert, all without leaving your chair.
  • Uncertain, because it’s still hard to picture where it’s all going. Today’s kids will grow up in a constantly connected, high-tech world before we’ve figured out if that’s a good idea.
  • Apprehensive, because it’s another step away from physical interaction with other humans. And despite the best efforts of tech companies, VR headsets still look exceedingly ridiculous.

But if I’m on the beach with Scarlett Johansson, I don’t care how I look.

— Doug Parry,; @parryracer

Recently, The Herald reported about Marysville’s effort to curb unruly, detritus-filled back yards (likely the resting place for many a broken VR set in the near future).

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