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It seems like a strange thing that a VR company could win an Emmy Award but the Oculus did. They managed to walk away with one of the most cherished prizes in the film and television industry thanks to a creative project that they brought to life for the Oculus Rift, their new VR headset that's been taking the headlines by storm this year.
The Emmy was for the Oculus Story Studio division and the short interactive film they made called Henry. It's available right now for free on the Oculus Rift, and it explores Henry the hedgehog's quest to find friends.
Over on the official Oculus blog, they announced that as part of the 68th annual Emmy Awards, the Oculus Story Studio was presented with an Emmy for Outstanding Original Interactive Program.
The short-film was directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau, and the fact that it can be interacted with via the Oculus Rift made it the target of a different group of media goers, considering that it's not a game and it's not just a static movie.
Henry is only eight minutes long and centers around Henry making a wish on his birthday that changes his poor luck with finding a friend. He's had trouble keeping friends because he likes to hug people and every time he hugs someone he accidentally pricks them with his spikes. If you haven't seen the short film you can view it below, courtesy of YouTube outlet Ekos VR Experiences.
It wasn't the sort of endeavor that received a whole lot of attention from the media because it wasn't actually a game so most gaming sites did not cover it. And it wasn't quite a traditional film, so it wasn't featured heavily on movie sites either.
The viewer is an observer in the whole thing, mostly standing around in a single position as the antics on-screen unfold. Henry isn't a bad short film, but it certainly doesn't quite live up to the standards of other shorts produced this year, especially the ones from Blizzard for Overwatch, which really took a lot of people by surprise.
However, what Henry does do is open up a possibility for all sorts of other interactive movie possibilities. In fact, I wonder if we'll start seeing some experimental films like Hardcore Henry made available for VR devices. How cool would it be to look around and engage in a world while watching the film? In fact, something like Star Wars would be fantastic in VR or a movie like The Matrix would be awesome to see through the Oculus Rift. Of course, the whole thing would have to be filmed either with panoramic cameras or rendered in 3D to make that a viable option for VR movie goers.
Even still, it marks a nice evolution in tech and storytelling now that VR is on the consumer market. Having the Academy reward Oculus for their efforts on Henry could mean that we might be seeing more experimental projects like Henry.
Oculus certainly isn't standing still, though, and they already have their Story Studio working on their next project called Dear Angelica.