Brutal teen world: A VR series brings new perspectives to life
Weird Times is a VR series produced for Meta Quest 2 that highlights taboo topics such as ADHD, depression, and body shaming among teens.
The pre-rendered 360-degree films put you in the perceptual world of teenagers struggling with insecurities or mental disorders.
The self-image is exaggerated and unsparing, the world surreal and threatening. The visual immersion in the perspective of those affected is meant to inspire understanding and compassion - and possibly the comforting realization that others feel the same way.
Stylistically, the series is geared toward the age group it's about. It comes in the form of an easily digestible and colorful animated film that never really gets dark and ends with an uplifting twist or mood every time.
From a teenager's perspective
I watched the first three episodes. The #brainFAIL episode is about a high school student with ADHD who has a hard time following lessons. From his perspective, I only get incoherent snippets of content.
In the episode #sexyFAIL I find myself in the role of a boy who suffers from a distorted body image and has locked himself in the bathroom at a party.
Finally, in the episode #happyFAIL, I am a girl who suffers from depression and believes herself to be the center of a humiliating television show. The inner monologues provide insight into the circular world of the protagonists' thoughts.
At the end of each episode, there is a relativization of the distorted view of self and the world, or a positive resolution that shows a possible way out of the alleged dead end.
Weird Times: Available for free on Oculus TV
The first season of Weird Times consists of five episodes, three of which have already been released on Oculus TV. You can watch Weird Times for free on Oculus TV. Enter the VR series title in the search box if you can't find it right away.
Studio Flight School produced the virtual reality series. The studio has previously developed the VR game Island Time, the VR film Manifest 99 and the VR experience War Remains. Meta supported the production as part of its VR for Good initiative.
You can learn more about the VR series in the Voices of VR podcast. Kent Bye spoke with co-director and animator Ryan Hartsell and Generation Z expert Chloe Combi, who advised and directed the team.