In a world that’s growing ever more digital it seemed only natural that I’d head to Liverpool to test my abilities at the VR Here Virtual Reality Arcade.
Now, I’m not someone who usually plays video games. In fact, the last game I played was probably Pokemon Yellow on my GameBoy (not a bad game if you ask me…) so a day of virtual reality was a little out of the ordinary for me. Whilst I may not have much gaming experience, I’m also not one to say no to fun. From Escape Rooms to Total Ninja UK, I’m always up for a fun-filled day and trying something new.
As I turned up to VR Here, I had no idea what to expect. Walking into the VR space, I was pleasantly surprised to find 4 green booths all set up with the top VR-tech. Of course I don’t really know what’s considered to be good gaming tech but VR Here use the HTC Vive VR Headsets and word on the street is that they’re pretty damn good. Having briefly tried the PlayStation VR headset I can attest to the quality of HTC Vive being far superior to that of PlayStation. There was no pixelation or fuzzy feelings with the HTC Vive – which when you’re jumping into the world of virtual reality for 90 minutes is just what you need!
We eased into our first taste of virtual reality with an underwater experience – TheBlu. This VR experience is one that’s suitable for children but hey, this 24 year old girl was just as wowed by all the fishes as any child would be. I felt like I’d dived straight into my own episode of Blue Planet with David Attenborough. The quality was crystal clear and felt truly immersive.
Whilst I was more than happy to stare in awe at the underwater sea fish and attempt to touch the jellyfish, it was time for something a little more active…
Have you ever walked a plank? Richie’s Plank Experience was our next VR challenge. Set in the city of New York, this VR experience involved talking an elevator up 80 floors above ground and then…yep, you guessed it…stepping out of the elevator doors on to a wooden plank suspended high above the city. For me, walking the virtual plank and staring down at the sheer drop to the floor of NYC was no problem at all. Stepping off the plank, however, was a different story.
Obviously when stepping off the plank, you’re not actually going anywhere. But virtually you’re plummeting through the sky at 100mph towards the yellow cabs adorned streets of New York beneath you. Honestly your legs get that sensation of falling – who knew the mental thought of falling, even virtually, could be so powerful!
Feeling giddy, we were ready to put the experiences to one side and play some games instead.
One of the great things about VR Here is the wide range of games available. With games to suit all ages, skill levels and even single or multi-player games, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Naturally, as the girl with potentially the worst memory in the world, I don’t recall the names of all of the games that we played. All I know was that they were all hella fun and ranged from job simulators to zombie shoot-outs!
I discovered shooting a bow and arrow wasn’t my forte. I don’t think I hit a single attacker! But that was okay because in the next game, I discovered my true VR talent. When it came to fighting off zombies/monsters in the Brookhaven Experiment, I took the VR by storm. This wave-based survival game was one that I thoroughly enjoyed and it even had me thinking that if I ever wound up living on a post-apocalypse Earth, I just might have a chance of survival.
Raw Data was probably my favourite game out of all that we played. This 2-player game allowed us to put our new-found virtual reality skills to the test to team up and ward off iRobot-esque robots on what I can only describe as an intergalatic spaceship. Raw Data was a seriously immersive game and I found myself getting way too caught up in the excitement and fast-paced nature of the game. This game really had me moving around and getting myself in a tangle as we did everything in our power to fight off the robots.
We also played another fun 2-player capture the flag game. I’m adamant that I won that game…even if the game didn’t say so.
Another fun feature at VR Here was that the final booth featured technology to really put you into the centre of the game. Here I got the chance to have another play on the game Space Pirate Trainer – a sci-fi game where I could fend off space robots whilst using my shield for protection against their lasers. Despite this being my second time playing the game, I still wasn’t amazing at it. My tactic in Space Pirate Trainer seems to be shoot wildly and hope for the best! But this time I could watch back the video footage of how it all looked and as my friend watched me in action they could see me in the centre of the scenery. It was a nice touch and I’m excited to see what else can be done with this!
The VR arcade is continually expanding, along with their game selection, and for £20 for half an hour or £30 for an hour, it’s a day-trip to Liverpool that I’d recommend for any avid gamer or even someone, who like me, just fancies trying something different one day!