Arcade of the future has finally arrived
A virtual reality gaming hub in Auckland is redefining the traditional arcade.
The Virtual Reality Studio in Mt Roskill, started by Jermaine Leef, Holly White and Robert Le Grice, is offering gamers the chance to be entertained, educated, or to simply escape.
The game options range from watching a blue whale beneath the ocean, to defending a castle with a bow and arrows, to painting with fire or snow.
‘‘We grew up in the era of arcades, we were 80s kids, so we were given the promise of virtual reality but it didn’t happen, it kind of flopped,’’ Leef said.
‘‘Now we’ve got it ready, it’s affordable, we’re there.’’
Virtual reality or ‘‘VR’’ is a computer generated simulation of an environment that can be interacted with, using a headset, headphones and sensor-fitted paddles.
It was after seeing how expensive virtual reality headsets were in March that Leef, White and Le Grice decided to create a space where people could come and use them for a fraction of the cost of buying one.
In September the opened to customers.
‘‘When we were first researching it no one worldwide was doing VR arcades so we made studio our own computers, we developed programmes,’’ White said.
‘‘There was lots of problem solving, and we learned a lot as we went.’’
Leef said the studio’s VR headsets were the best in immersive technology and did not result in motion sickness.
‘‘Our setup allows for the head and ears to work together properly.’’
The experience is suitable to people aged five years and over, White said.
And if the future isn’t for you, they’ve provided a ‘retro room’ with games from the 1980s and 1990s.
The studio is open to the public and can be booked out for private parties.
The plan was to also link with virtual and augmented reality experts and grow the field, White said.
‘‘No one knows which direc- tion we’re going so we’re all just jumping in,’’ White said.
‘‘We’ve been setting the trend so now it’s about keeping ahead of the game,’’ Leef said.
Virtual Reality Studio want to open studios across New Zealand, making them as common as arcades in the 1980s.