The VRChat documentary gets VR right, but already feels old

We Met In Virtual Reality (opens in new tab), HBO’s documentary that was filmed entirely in VRChat, struggles to capture the reality outside of itself. VRChat has been ahead of its time since 2014: it’s the non-corporate metaverse for catgirls and memes. It’s a first-person online game where you can do just about anything you’d do in real life as long as its community of developers and animators can make it. You’ve probably seen clips of it featuring everything from VTubers (opens in new tab)Sonic characters (opens in new tab)and anime protagonists (opens in new tab).

Naturally, it attracts a lot of people who, for whatever reason, don’t feel comfortable in the real world. VRChat is a space where gender, sexuality, and especially bodies, are truly fluid, and, as a result, it’s incredibly queer. It’s not Facebook’s vision of VR, or as People Make Games (opens in new tab) put it in May, the “sexless, Zuckerbergian, brand-friendly presentation” of Meta’s trillion dollar metaverse. It’s a place for people to explore their identities, meet others, or painstakingly recreate big box stores (opens in new tab) and roleplay as the cashiers.

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