Your next date, corporate event, day with the niece and nephew, or “me time” session could include virtual reality (VR).
Naturally, I had to check out the concept for myself. Larger than it looks from the outside, VRPlayin features 18 stations that can be shared with up to three people. Here, you can race F1 cars, brush up on your baseball and golf skills, play Ping-Pong and blast away bad guys in space.
While the centre can be compared to a modern-day arcade, the experiences span more than a well-curated selection of video games. You can also explore both museums and create a painted work of art or a sculpture. Each station features a viewing bar so that your friends can get the best view possible of you potentially making a fool of yourself (and, naturally, to document it on Instagram). You can also play against your friends and communicate with them through headphones.
There are currently 30 different experiences to choose from, with more coming soon.
If you’re new to the VR world or technologically challenged, it’s not a problem. There are seasoned techies on site to help your cause and no question is too stupid (trust me, I asked them all). Each session also begins with an easy-to-follow tutorial that was designed in-house. Added perks include an emailed video option that shows both you playing the game in all your ridiculous glory and the happenings of the actual game itself.
The only think it’s really lacking is a bar (because VR is always better with a slight buzz, right?), but they can bring in booze and catering for private events (up to 60 people).
Meanwhile, on Queen West, House of VR – which opened up shop around the same time as VR Playin did – offers 10 comfy viewing pods that feature 360-degree films, along with 13 play units. Like VR Playin, House of VR features experiences that go beyond the video game, allowing guests to travel, meditate and explore in VR. House of VR also functions as an art gallery – and a real-life one at that. The art that graces its sleek walls will change on the regular. Unlike VR Playin, House of VR has a bar to refresh after an intense game with cold brews and beer.
Until the two spots opened their doors, Toronto had somewhat surprisingly lagged behind other global cities in the VR scene. It’s safe to say they won’t be the last to pop up in the city.
If you have yet to try VR for yourself, you may want to escape reality at one of these spots.
Have you had a chance to experience VRPlayin or House of VR yet? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.