[UPDATED 12/30, 5:14 pm] With the world closing down again, fireworks in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park cancelled because of the Omicron variant and the streets of Amsterdam subject to a new curfew, what should one do about New Year’s Eve?
The best way to celebrate safely in the Covid era is in virtual reality.
And this year, VR world-builders have created an embarrassment of riches, numerous beautiful and immersive worlds in which to party, filled with friendly avatars.
Because it is VR, you can hop from Paris to Berlin to New York City and back again in a night, without even a private jet at your disposal.
For those unfamiliar with VR, you can’t understand the extremely immersive nature of the experience; and for those who have used their headsets only for gaming, you may not realize the world that awaits you, and New Year’s Eve will be a good introduction.
What a great night it will be.
So if your New Year’s plans have fallen through, if you are afraid to venture into a crowded IRL club, or if you are just looking for something better to do, alone or with a date, here are a few suggestions.
Before the Party:
Always open, in VtimeXR, free
Champagne and rose petals on the tablecloth, birds flying overhead, music on the streets of Paris, the babble of diners in the crowded restaurant, and that heartbreaking view of the Eiffel tower bathed in a magnificent sunset on the horizon.
If you have a date for New Year’s Eve, the Terrasse de l’Amour is the perfect spot for quiet, pre-party conversation. If you do not, this is the perfect spot to meet someone, maybe the virtual soulmate of your dreams.
The Main Events:
Friday, December 31, 2021, from 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM (EST), in AltspaceVR, free
For this New Year’s Eve bash, organizer Jake Upfront promises three New York City clubs, one based on the legendary 1980s Tunnel nightclub, and possibly one rooftop club on 6th Avenue and a Central Park festival stage. The Tunnel is confirmed, but whatever the final lineup, Jake promises “one club per hour up until we drop from the dancing.”
Jake was a mastermind behind the Ecliptic Digital Rave just a few weeks ago, and his worlds are realistic, detailed, immersive and utterly convincing; and it’s co-sponsored by MOMA Rave, which brought us a terrific Tokyo nightclub a few weeks ago.
If you don’t live in New York City, we have no doubt that you will feel as though you do, for one night; and if you do, we have no doubt that you will feel as though you are back in the 1980s, for one night.
Friday, December 31, 2021, from 4 PM to 4 AM (EST), in AltspaceVR, free
Canadian Darryl Gold has recreated the Berlin Wall on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1989.
Darryl tells us that his event will be “a virtual recreation of the 1989 New Year’s Eve party in Berlin just after the Wall opened. The Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and surroundings have been built based on old photos and videos. The event tries to capture the gritty 80’s feel of the times and celebrate freedom from tyranny, which we hopefully can relate to.”
The music for this spectacular party will be era-appropriate, all Eighties — and here at Audere, while many of us didn’t love the 1980s, what-with Reagan and everything, we did love the music! — and it will last for twelve hours, with New Year’s countdowns from Europe to New York to Los Angeles.
We’re not sure if they played “Safety Dance” when the original Wall fell, but we hope they will play it when the virtual Wall falls.
Friday, December 31, 2021 from 4:15 PM to 9:15 PM (EST) , in AltspaceVR, free
While the other events focus on realistic recreations of actual places and events, the Inner Circle’s party will put you in the middle of amazing and immersive fantasy worlds.
Organizer Sonny Scholte promises a Psychedelic rave with plenty of Psytrance music in three different worlds.
First up, “Lonely Beach,” where, Scholte says, you will “party on the beach in an ancient forest.” Next, his Cave Valhalla is a “crazy party island on the north pole, next to a giant cave full of hidden mysteries and wisdom.” Finally, Twilight Zone, where, Scholte tells us, angels will fly you to a “church in the heavens above a dark-medieval village. The church is full of screens, giving you a full-on experience.”
December 31, 2021 from 3 am till January 1, 2022, 3:15 am, in Venues, free
If fireworks were canceled in your town, or you just don’t want to brave the crowds, the Venues virtual theatrical complex is showing fireworks on one of their gigantic screens for a little over 24 hours.
Listen: who needs reality?
Audere Magazine publishes stories on VR and technology frequently. Read more here.
Image of dancing avatar designed by Steven S. Drachman, background from an event by Jake Upfront