SXSW: Demo of 'Game of Thrones' on Oculus Rift wows virtual reality fans

Austin, Texas (CNN) -- Night gathers, and now your watch begins.
You step into the elevator and take a last look around the courtyard of Castle Black before a bone-rattling ride lifts you 700 feet, depositing you in the whipping wind of the frigid north, high atop The Wall.
Then, as the red flames of torches flicker in the distance, you hear two telling blasts from the watchmen's horns. The wildlings are coming.
For thousands of "Game of Thrones" fans, that brief immersion into the life of a Night's Watch soldier in the HBO show is becoming a reality this week, thanks to an exhibit at the South by Southwest Interactive festival that employs one of the hottest gadgets in tech.
"Ascend the Wall" is part of a traveling exhibit promoting the wildly popular fantasy epic, which returns for its fourth season next month. It's built using Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset that has captured the imaginations of gamers since its $2.4 million debut on Kickstarter in 2012.
Designed specifically for video gaming, the Rift provides a 360-degree field of vision, allowing wearers to view, and react to, their surroundings in a realistic manner. The device's capabilities were inspiring to Mike Woods, creative director of Framestore, the London-based visual-effects company that developed "Ascend the Wall."
"It's whatever you want it to be," said Woods, whose company recently scored an Academy Award for best visual effects for "Gravity" and has another for 2008's "The Golden Compass."
"They know that they're reinventing gaming," he added. "There are, literally, endless possibilities."
At the exhibit, which also featured props, costumes and other "Game of Thrones" displays, visitors lined up, sometimes for several hours, for a turn in a bank of booths designed to look like the elevators that carry soldiers on the show's massive, icy wall. See more

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