Confronting your worst fears or even training for a natural disaster from the comfort of your own living room is now one step closer thanks to new investment in virtual reality technology.
More than $7.5 million is being poured into Canterbury University to boost immersive gaming research.
HIT Lab's Professor Rob Lindeman says immersive gaming is the future of learning.
"The idea is to really make people feel like they're in the space and the things are actually happening to them. It's all very different when you're in the virtual environment," he said.
"The problem is keeping people on task or making it interesting for them to spend more time doing the thing that we want them to do.
"It's been shown that more time on task leads to better mastery of things."
The team believes the technology could help students engage in school, get people exercising or even encourage smokers to quit.
And now, thanks to the fresh investment from the Government and the university, three of the world's top gaming academics will come to New Zealand and help support their work.
"They're used to spinning game companies, starting game companies, working closely with industries in order to take a project developed by a student team, polish them up and then help connect them with some pathway to get them into market," Mr Lindeman said.
The plan is to help attract and retain keen minds in the industry.
New Zealand game development company CerebralFix's Tim Boone said, "We have a huge shortage in our industry and the more we can get talented individuals trained, the better it will be for us to grow."