I’ve never really been interested in virtual reality. I always figured it was just for gamers. It was something Tom talked about off and on but I didn’t really “get” it.
My interest was piqued a little when I got to try it out at Somnai but I didn’t really think much more about it. Then, I heard about VR Here*, a virtual reality arcade just around the corner from my old flat in Liverpool. We were planning a trip back home anyway so I was pretty excited to go and see what it was all about.
So, early one Sunday morning, Tom and I drove into to town to see what all the fuss was about. Spoiler alert – the fuss is well deserved.
We met Bryan who is pretty much the font of all virtual reality knowledge and a very nice guy. He is so good at guiding you through a VR experience too if, like me, you don’t really understand it and don’t think it’s really going to be for you. Because he knows so much and is so passionate about it all, it’s totally infectious. The more he told us the more I wanted to learn. He’s an absolute gem.
I didn’t really know what to expect from a virtual reality arcade and I was kind of surprised to see a long room with what is essentially a row of green and black tents along one side. I was also a bit surprised when Tom and I were put in our own separate tents. I guess I just assumed to be in the same game we’d need to be together.
Apparently, my preconceived idea that virtual reality is just for gamers is something a lot of people have. So to ease us in and prove my theory wrong he popped us into a couple of experiences first.
Being underwater was one of my favourites and the fact that if you reached out to touch a fish it reacted and swam away. But it was the big finale when a huge whale came floating on by that really took my breath away. I could have stayed in there for ages just looking around. It was so calming and peaceful.
We had a go at loads of different uses of VR. It was crazy. We played a really cool version of a space invaders type game, fought robots together and played paintball against each other. Everything is all so different but so much fun.
I thought it was really funny how what you can see (even if it doesn’t look real and a bit like you’re in a cartoon world) messes with how you act. We played the plank and although I knew I was on flat ground and I couldn’t actually fall, I couldn’t make myself move close to the end of it. So much so that I turned around so slowly and inched my way back into the lift. The two sides of my brain were certainly at war with that one.
Honestly, it was so much fun. We couldn’t stop talking about it between ourselves for the rest of the day and for the rest of the week to anybody who would listen! We must have sold it well because next time we go home my mum really wants me to take her to have a go too.
You can find VR Here at 31 Paul Street, Liverpool, L3 6DX. It’s £20 to play for 1 hour but they also have 15-minute taster sessions for £5 during the week.
It’s so hard to try and get over what a great experience this is in words. It’s still hard in a 2D video too but it might give you a better idea of what to expect. Here’s a little trailer they put together.
*Tom and I were invited to VR Here for review purposes. All words and thoughts are my own.