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  • Writer's pictureBhuvanesh Tekavade

VR Game: Pistol Whip

Finding the motivation to exercise is tough for me, as it is for many others. I avoided going to the gym for a variety of reasons, even when I didn't have to pay, as in the case with apartment gyms. That all changed when I got my virtual reality headset. Gamifying the workout and providing me something other than the gym walls to look at has really inspired me. It doesn't matter if the gym walls are perfect or deteriorating, since I soon start counting the spots in the plaster out of boredom.


It should be mentioned that you are still exercising, and your muscle safety is still a consideration. There are several techniques to exercising using virtual reality, which I will discuss in future. In this essay, I'd like to discuss Pistol Whip and how bullets are a very motivating factor in my fitness program.


With Pistol Whip you can use bullets to encourage yourself to do squats!


(Pistol Whip, Cameron Oltmann, Cloudhead Games, 2019, Available on Oculus Quest, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows)


Pistol Whip is a fast-paced first-person shooter. The game is broken up into tasty bite-sized bits based on the length of each scene's songs. The gameplay is straightforward. You're put on rails and must avoid gunshots while firing down adversaries who rush out, which is where the exercise comes in. Some of these opponents require more than one shot to defeat, as evidenced by design differences such as a bulky white protective vest.


Your score is determined by how well you timing your shots to the beat. However, don't fret if your aim isn't flawless. Aiming assistance is included in the game, which makes things more forgiving. You can easily disable the auto-aim feature using the styles menu, which I'll go over in more detail below.



The game's aesthetic style is lovely and easy on the eyes, allowing it to operate easily on both the headset and PC without compromising any graphics fidelity. Though, as expected, the PC still has a stronghold in this area.


While the art style will remain the same, the game is currently divided into three general themes. Action-adventure (Suited Agents), cyberpunk (Robots), and Western genres are all represented (Outlaws). The arcade's Classic and Reloaded modes involve sprints through bright alleyways while suited-folk make up your foes, since the game was inspired by John Wick. Heartbreaker is the same as Heartbreaker, but with a LoFi Vaporwave twist.


Things start to change in "2089". Apocalyptic wastelands are broken up by technological wonders and falling buildings as you face the new enemy style, robots, throughout five levels. The last level follows the game's formula but adds a boss level at the end.



"Smoke & Thunder" follows in the footsteps of 2089 and throws you into five incredible levels inspired by westerns, with some outlaws riding by on horseback. This is my personal favorite of the new features. The song selections, such as the Heavy's ain't No Place for No Hero' and 'Not Dead Yet,' really get the blood pumping as you stampede your way out of a saloon, through a town, on horseback after a train, and along the train, all with their own story that leads up to their own boss fight that will be yours to discover.



Encore has added another level to both of these themes along with some other goodies such as revolver skins.


S T Y L E S

The style screen is located to the left of the scene selection panel. You can personalize your load-out with weaponry and modifications in this section.



A R S E N A L

You have the option of having four firearms or none at all, each with its own skins that you can customize in terms of color and stock. However, don't mistake 'no guns' for 'no options.' If you fiddle about with customizing, you can get brass knuckles, an unloaded gun, a banana, or a 'freakin pencil.'


From the Cyberpunk campaign update, you can get a classic semi-automatic, a sophisticated 20 round gun with intelligent four-round burst (swing your arm and it'll fire at a line of four without you having to worry about it), and the dignified outlaw's six-shooting revolver and the devilish outlaw's double barrel shotgun with explosive rounds.


You can equip dual-wield as a style to any of these guns. You are, however, vulnerable to the weapons of the campaign or challenge modes.



M O D I F I E R

Each style has a total of 5 modifications from which to choose. These 14 mods are divided into six positive and eight negative categories. They can be as beneficial as removing reloading and huge head mode, or as destructive as deleting aim assist or bullet hell mode.


M O T I O N S I C K N E S S

Now, as someone who gets terrible motion sickness in automobiles but has strong VR legs, it's difficult to say whether this game's on rails will be a problem. I played this game when I first started learning about virtual reality and had no problems with motion sickness. Some games gave me terrible motion nausea just by moving around, and they still do. I'm looking at you, Half Life 1's first tram level (modified with SideQuest, but that'll be covered in another article).


To summarize, your mileage may vary, but regardless of whether or not it is on rails, this is a game you might enjoy.


T H E E X E R C I S E

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can move on to how I use this game to workout. As I previously stated, avoiding bullets is a vital aspect of the game; nevertheless, this game mainly worries about your head in this regard. All you have to do now is avoid getting hit in the eye with the bullet. This is easier than it sounds; the guns move slowly enough for you to respond, and a red line appears in your field of view to indicate that you are being targeted. Don't worry, it's unnoticeable in game.


Knowing this, you can turn the game into an exercise!

It's quite straightforward. As you play the game, stand with your feet parallel to your shoulders, as if you were in a standard exercise rest position.


  • Perform a squat if you hear melodic gunshots or see them aiming at your head. Please be cautious and keep your back and head in a neutral position. In the sitting position, the next line of foes will shoot for your head.

  • Continue to hold that squat until you notice the sight-lines of the enemy or hear the gunfire.

  • Return to a standing position, and don't be concerned! The game only worries if you get hit in the head, as I already stated. You will not be harmed by the bullets that sing-song their way past your chin.

  • Repeat in a panic because the bullets may be digital, phony, and fashionable, but they are still coming at you. This is encouraging in this scenario. Make the most of it.


In Pistol Whip. ONLY in Pistol Whip. Bullets whizzing under your chin in reality, and most games, will very much harm you. Do not use actual bullets to encourage your exercise.


The combination of Pistol Whip's fantastic soundtrack, the stylized scenery skimming past you, and all the enemies you're focused on shooting as you John Wick your way through a scene will make pumping out those squats far easier, to the point where your legs will be screaming for a break by the time you finish a scene or two.


The best part about this exercise is that you'll be fighting that lactic acid because you want to go another round.




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© 2022 by Bhuvanesh Tekavade

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