The Essential Virtual Reality Starter's Kit

Imagine strapping in on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, or biking the streets of Monaco—all from the cozy comfort of your sofa. Now, thanks to the sudden ascendancy of some seriously cutting-edge tech, you can step into another world at the click of a button. Here's how.

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality set in black photo

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Oculus Rift

This set of virtual reality goggles lets you travel, hang with friends, and play games (like the avant garde Superhot) without ever leaving the couch. The goggles provide two images, side by side—one for each eye, for an immersive, 180-degree, out-of-this-world experience. And you can buy a set that features the Oculus Touch—wireless controllers for a seriously transendent time. ($399; oculus.com)

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PlayStation virtual reality goggles photo

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PlayStation VR

You can take your gaming to the next level—if you're already equipped with a PlayStation 4, that is—by picking up this set of virtual reality goggles, which are designed to more or less pull you into the screen. Imagine being in Skyrim (the world, not the game). Or picture romping around the desolate hellscape of Doom (the game, not the world). With the PSVR, imagination becomes reality. ($299.95; playstation.com)

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HTC Vive VR system photo

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HTC Vive

For a more comfortable way to enjoy your games in virtual reality, try the HTC Vive. The Vive comes equipped with 360-degree controllers and headset tracking, realistic graphics, and directional audio designed to make you feel like you're actually inside the game. For our money, as far as immersion goes, Star Trek: The Bridge is your best best. (Yes, we're total Trekkies.) ($499; vive.com)

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VZ Bike Controller: A workout in virtual reality photo

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VZ Bike Controller

Cycling can be repetitive, and the scenery can sometimes be less than inspiring—especially if you're the stationary bike kind of guy. The VZ Bike Controller gives you an escape from those biking blues. It comes with a program called Virzoom Arcade, which provides you a plethora of games designed to distract you on your way to incinerating calories. You'll never want to hit the Peloton again. (And it's a great option for rainy days where you still need to get some miles in.) ($399; virzoom.com)

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KOR-FX Gaming Vest for virtual reality photo

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KOR-FX Force Feedback Vest

The KOR-FX Force Feedback Vest is a must for those wanting to experience all that virtual reality has to offer. Slip this vest on to create a true full-body experience. Taking a trip to the beach? Not only will you be able to see and hear every ocean wave—you'll also be able to feel them. ($99.99; korfx.com)

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Roto VR chair in black photo

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Roto VR Chair

Sit back and relax in this virtual reality chair, which is compatible with all major VR systems, including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The benefits of this high-tech piece of gear are twofold. For one, it'll save you space; with the foot pedals, there's no need to physically walk around your living room as you traverse virtually constructed worlds. And for another, you don't have to move an inch. Lazy bliss, take us away. ($999; rotovr.com)

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