AMUSE­MENTS Viri VR

Time Out (Melbourne) - - LOVE MELBOURNE WINNERS -

I’M STAND­ING ON top of a sky­scraper eye­ing a nar­row wooden plank that juts out over a busy city street. I can feel the wind in my hair, and I hear the dis­tant sounds of traf­fic below, as well as the wind rush­ing in my ears. My legs start to trem­ble. But this is for jour­nal­ism, so I close my eyes and shuf­fle my feet for­wards, one shaky step at a time. I open my eyes and look around, see­ing birds wheel­ing at my height and the bus­tle of the city 30 storeys down. I know that I’m ac­tu­ally a cou­ple of cen­time­tres off the ground, and that noth­ing I am see­ing is real. But it takes a lot of courage to step off and ‘fall’ back to earth.

We’re at Viri, a few hun­dred me­tres from South­ern Cross Sta­tion. The 80-minute vir­tual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ence starts with the vir­tual plank, fol­lowed by a much lower stakes archery game, where the goal is to de­fend your cas­tle from an in­vad­ing horde. Shoot­ing flam­ing ar­rows at twodi­men­sional car­toon fig­ures is ex­hil­a­rat­ing – and sur­pris­ingly sore on the arms. Af­ter those two games it’s off to our pri­vate booths, where we each choose a game from the dozen or so on of­fer and start wav­ing our arms around. Groups can share a booth and take turns on the games, or if Viri isn’t busy each player can have his or her own. I am par­tic­u­larly keen on Fruit Ninja – slic­ing through pineap­ples with vir­tual katana blades is so much more sat­is­fy­ing than swip­ing your fin­ger across your phone. I also like the danc­ing game, where the ob­ject is to catch vir­tual mu­si­cal notes and move in time to the beat. There are also zom­bie games and a bar fight game, though I end up knocked on my vir­tual arse quite quickly. Some games are for mul­ti­ple play­ers, and two of us team up to fight hos­tile aliens in a bar­ren land­scape. Viri of­fers wa­ter and com­fort­able couches – all that punch­ing and slic­ing is tir­ing, and some­times your eyes need a break from all the screen ac­tion.

Cas­sidy Knowl­ton

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