05/08/18 Assistant Professor Jose Sanchez Launches Virtual Reality Video Game
Jose Sanchez, an assistant professor at the USC School of Architecture and Director of the Plethora Project, recently announced the launch of his virtual reality video game Block’hood VR. Sanchez developed the VR version of his original project, Block’hood, as part of his research at USC. Satrio Dewantono, a VR programmer at the School of Cinematic Arts, and Lienny Ruiz, a designer at the School of Architecture, also collaborated with Sanchez to create Block’hood VR. Both an educational game and a research initiative, Block’hood explores the connection between games and architecture, contributing a form of digital infrastructure to the ecological and systems thinking that is necessary for contemporary urbanism. When first released, Block’hood won the award for “Best Gameplay” at the 2016 Games for Change Festival and competed as a finalist for awards at both the Game Awards 2016 and Fast Company’s Innovation by Design 2016. The latest VR iteration of the game retains all of its predecessor’s qualities and focuses, while providing a more immersive experience for users. Using VR technology, it places an emphasis on tactility, allowing players to visualize the game at different scales and manipulate the ecological relations. The game is available for purchase here. Watch the Block’hood launch trailer here.