VRChat, the Unity based virtual reality social simulator, has been popular across the internet since late last year. Since gaining traction, the virtual reality game has just recently surpassed 1 million downloads, and it consistently lands at the 30th most played game on Steam.
In VRChat, users can explore community made worlds, customize their avatar from a variety of pre-made avatars or create their own, or even go bowling. While this all might seem boring to do alone, the main draw to the game comes from stranger and friend interactions. The game’s recent popularity can also be attributed to a growing community on Twitch, YouTube, the addition of non-VR player support, and the growth of a meme that has origins from VRChat. On Twitch and YouTube, many popular internet personalities, such as pokelawls, Alpharad, and dunkey, have exposed hundreds of thousands of people to the VR game. The exposure, along with hilarious interactions, are part of what have driven people to give the game a try for themselves. This also has brought in millions of views for the content put out by these personalities in VRChat.
Although VRChat was made for use with VR headsets, users can still play the game with just a mouse and keyboard. The only drawback is the lack of most movement features. While these limited movement features add to the experience, it does not inhibit it at the same time. Your model’s mouth still moves in sync with your voice, your head and body move with your mouse, and you can still pick up certain objects in the world. With a VR setup, users can have dynamic head movements, free arm and hand movement, and changing height.
With the increase of users in VRChat, the game has had over 20,000 concurrent users just this Sunday, and it is often featured on the most-watched list on Twitch. As user presence grows, so do the memes that pop up from the game. One of the controversial memes that has brought in even more people has been the Ugandan Knuckles meme. The ridiculous size, face shape, and catchphrases from a Ugandan movie (that has also increased in popularity recently) have led many to participate in the meme, or create different spinoffs of the meme. One such example is the Ugandan Russian Tank meme, which introduces Knuckles in a tank whilst wearing an ushanka and yelling in Russian.
VRChat has grown immensely, and with continued developer support, constant updates, and community contributions, it does not look like it will die down anytime soon.