Now you can relive memories in VR, and it's as creepy as it sounds

With the release of PSVR 2, virtual reality is back in the headlines and app developers are using the new hardware, including Meta Quest 2, to find creative ways to usher in new experiences. But in this rekindled experimentation some ideas are just, well, a little creepy.

The app in question is Wist: Immersive Memories, in development for iOS and Meta Quest 2, and soon on Meta Quest Pro. This app brings old video to life inside a virtual reality headset. There's a buzz around the app, largely because virtual reality is all the rage again in 2023 due to the launch of PSVR 2 – read my PSVR 2 review to find out why everyone loves this headset. Also, rumours continue around a new Apple VR headset, which could really be something special.

Developed by Wist Labs, Wist: Immersive Memories is pitched as a way to relive old 'memories' inside VR and AR. This is the kind of thing we've seen in movies for decades, including the scene in Minority Report were Tom Cruise remembers is deceased wife and child, and now you can actually experience it for yourself. But is it unsettling?

See more

Wist: Immersive Memories works by enabling you to take videos of everyday things you'd usually record – a birthday party or Instagrammable moment – and then the app makes use of newer VR headset sensors to calculate this captured footage's 3D data to turn it into an immersive experience. You can essentially step back in time and revisit real life moments all over again inside a VR headset or using mobile AR.

See more

This sounds amazing, and actually Wist is, but I can't help being a little creeped-out by the app's use of old video. It feels a little like that time Kanye West surprised his wife, Kim Kardashian, with a hologram of her dead dad. And that memory is one that creeps me out.

In action, video in Wist's breaks apart and edges blend and break as old video sits over your view – it looks weird and ghostly as if memories of the past are breaking into your current life. I kind of find the whole thing unsettling.

This is probably just me and many users are going to get a lot of joy out of Wist's inventive use of VR and AR. The idea is fantastic and does tease where virtual reality and augmented reality can go in the future. It does feel like every day we're getting closer to breaking The Matrix.

And let's consider the broader uses of Wist and AR apps like this; I can imagine seeing a perfect sofa for my home in a store but being unsure – now I can gab a video of it and head home to see it in my actual living room. Okay, I'm convincing myself Wist can be fun.

Right now Wist is in private beta on iOS and Meta Quest 2, so many of my fears of the past haunting me will likely be ironed out by the time we all get to use it. There's a planned Meta Quest Pro version coming this year, too. Visit the Wist: Immersive Memories website to sign up for the beta or join the launch waiting list.

Read more:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.