The VR experience Nefertari: Journey to Eternity begins when you step into a digitally recreated version of the mysterious Egyptian queen’s tomb. By pointing to different parts of the space, viewers can listen to narration about the hieroglyphics and their connection to Queen Nefertari. The aim is to provide a window into Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife. Created by CuriosityStream, the free app is available for HTC Vive.
The graphics are incredibly realistic and almost make you feel as if you’re there. The images are rendered in exquisite detail, which will delight anyone interested in Egyptian history. Torchlight illuminates the space, a nice detail that makes it feel as if you’re on a real private tour of the ancient tomb. For anyone interested in exploring historical sites, this aspect would be enchanting.
Minimal instructions make it difficult to figure out how to navigate the space. It took a few minutes to figure out how to teleport, and several times I left the experience by accident. I would then have to restart, which was frustrating.
It was also difficult to identify which areas of the space were available for narration. A subtle blue outline indicates the areas with audio, but it was often hard to see. Similarly, it took a second to figure out that clicking the trigger would activate the audio. It might be better if the app offered a guided tour experience along with the self-guided tour.
The app treats the viewer like someone who is already familiar with Egyptian history, which is a narrow group of people. It would be nice to have a brief introduction to Queen Nefertari and the importance of her tomb at the beginning, as well as more guidance throughout. With these enhancements, Nefertari could be an incredible educational experience.
Although the photorealism is impressive, this educational experience is only appropriate for those with a robust understanding of Egyptian history and a willingness to figure out how to engage with the space.Image: CuriosityStream