When we were looking for a fitting farewell activity –and we decided on the axe throwing–, one of the other options had also sparked our interest: a virtual reality arcade game. One of Yumi’s colleagues wanted to try it out as well, so he booked a room for the four of us for the next Thursday1.
The room had one VR set and a couch for three people, we each had to play individually while the others watched on two big screens what was going on. The VR set consisted of a pair of goggles (with inbuilt screens) and two wand-like controllers, one for each hand. I’ll admit, it looks a little funny to see someone wearing that. But as the one wearing it, you don’t have time to be embarrassed by it, you’re too far gone in the virtual world that has just been created around you.
Several games were available for playing and I started with a Star Wars game. The introductory movie took a little too long2 and the first few minutes were basically a movie scene that happened around me, but then R2D2 stood beside me and he handed me a lightsaber. A formation of Stormtroopers arrived, shooting at me and I had to use the lightsaber to fend off the laser bolts. Too soon the game was over and I chose a different one. Hordes of zombies stumbled towards me in a dark sewer and I only had an unreliable flashlight in my left hand and a pistol in my right to kill them before they got me.
I passed the VR set to Chao and he chose a game where he had to kill oncoming orcs with bow and arrows. He later went swinging from tree to tree –a little like Spiderman– in a world consisting of islands floating in the sky. Yumi first was a master chef in a breakfast restaurant, making smoothies, baking eggs and flipping pancakes. She then became a magician apprentice, trying out different spells and charms –fireblasts, telekinesis, painting in the air– on the objects lying in her tower. Haley started out as a mechanic fixing cars, changing headlamps and filling oil, but she soon changed worlds and became a space pirate shooting down flying robots. This last game seemed so much fun, I also had to try it out.
The two hours passed in a heartbeat and we wished we could stay longer, but alas, our time was up. Chao has already gone there again in the meantime and I’m also planning to find a VR game room in or around Ghent when we’re back in Belgium. It’s definitely a recommendation for anyone looking for an immersive experience!