by Christina Peden

The general public has a chance to test out the Oculus Rift at the Game of Thrones exhibition currently taking place at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Visitors to the exhibit can take part in an immersive virtual reality experience called “Ascend the Wall” while wearing the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality headset acquired by Facebook in March. Digital Home had the chance to check out the exhibit and experience the power of the Rift firsthand.

After being virtually transported via replica Night’s Watch elevator to the top of the icy wall which forms the Northern border of Westeros, you look down to observe the invasion of the Wildling army from the north. Visitors are able to turn around in the elevator and see a 360° view of the ascent, complete with the sound of the creaky elevator crank and the swirling, frozen northern wind with the help of noise-cancelling headphones.

It’s impossible not to become completely absorbed in the experience, despite knowing  it’s not real—if you have a fear of heights or are prone to motion sickness, “Ascend the Wall” probably isn’t for you. However, it’s easy to see how the Rift could be incorporated into video games, or one day even entire films, for the ultimate home entertainment experience.

The Game of Thrones exhibit runs in Toronto through 18 May, before travelling to Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition from 16 August to 1 September.  Those wishing to attend the Toronto stop of the tour can visit the TIFF Bell Lightbox website for more information.