Viveport Review: Unabomber: The Virtual Reality Experience
Get a unique look at one of the most captivating criminal investigations in American history.
By Desmond Madison, Greenlit Content
April 3rd, 1996. On this day, a domestic terrorist known as the Unabomber (who had been at large, mailing explosive packages to universities and individuals all across the country since 1978) was finally captured by the FBI in a small wilderness cabin near Lincoln, Montana.
The events that led to his arrest across three decades of investigation were some of the most well documented in history, as the world watched the story unfold in the media over the years. This is especially true once he re-emerged in 1993 after sending a lethal mail bomb that severely injured a University of California geneticist at his own house. More attacks followed, and a special UNABOM Task Force was finally launched for an intensive search to narrow down and find the Unabomber suspect once and for all.
If this sounds like a critical lesson in history, it’s because it is. Unabomber: The Virtual Reality Experience is a brief educational narrative lesson produced by Immersion VR in partnership the Newseum in Washington D.C., which is dedicated to educating the world about free expression, as well as the five freedoms of the First Amendment.
Journalism being a core part of their historical education, the Unabomber case has a special place in Newseum history, thanks to the infamous publishing of the famed ‘Manifesto’ that the suspect had sent to the New York Times. The Newseum also houses the actual Minnesota cabin that Ted Kaczynski was found in, and the VR experience was created to be displayed in the museum for patrons to experience the history of the case in incredible detail, as well as explore the ethical issues surrounding the New York Times decision to publish the Manifesto. Through player interaction and investigation, users will learn that it was the decision to publish the Manifesto that helped identify Kaczynski, with a lead tip-off coming from his own brother, who recognized his writing style.
Students are then sent to the infamous Minnesota shack after the arrest to search for clues and evidence that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the FBI had indeed found their man. Each object is rendered in explicit detail and arranged exactly as it was found, allowing users to learn all of the key details that went into the closing the case of the most infamous domestic terrorist in modern media history.
If you’re interested at all in getting a brief but extensively detailed education on one of the most high-profile terrorist cases of all time, you really shouldn’t miss this experience. It’s custom made to bring a piece of an incredible museum right into your Vive and help you walk away with a lesson in forensics, ethics, and morality. It’s by no means a game, and it was never meant to be, but Unabomber: The Virtual Reality Experience deserves special attention and recognition for striving to go beyond games and prove once again that VR has the power educate in ways that no other medium can.
Unabomber: The Virtual Reality Experience is available on Viveport.