Japan opens the first VR arcade

Finding a space to utilize fully immersive VR experiences can be more than a little difficult. Especially in a place like Japan, where living spaces are often extremely cramped, taking advantage of the HTC Vive’s full spatial immersion can be quite the task. Over the years, industries have emerged to take care of the problem of spaces too small to complete a task, and have operated with the sole purpose of providing residents of the country with stylized cafe’s and arcades that meet the specified use case. Whether it be a net cafe’ where up and coming professional gamers make their start, or a cat lounge, where customers can enjoy the company of adorable felines, there always seems to be someone willing to fill a need by tacking on the word “cafe'” or “arcade” to the end of the problem. Now, with VR rapidly rising to be the new popular technology, one company in the land of the rising sun has emerged to offer immersive experiences to the public.

Pegged VR Zone from the company Project I Can, the arcade features a variety of experiences for customers to experience, ranging from saving kittens from atop a high skyscraper, to conducting a train through the outskirts of Japan. There are six experiences in total, and the company hopes you’ll find each more thrilling than the next. The company charges about $9 for each experience, but for many people without access to either a headset or a location to utilize a headset of their own, it’s often well worth the money.

https://youtu.be/Sik2Fsphe80

Here’s the full range of titles the arcade offers to customers:

Argyle Shift brings players the classic Japanese mech-fighting experience, allowing users to pilot a giant fighting robot using joysticks in each hand. Players can look around and shoot at mechs all around them, and I would be a liar if I didn’t say that sounds like a hell of an experience. The game doesn’t have a large amount of depth, but you had better bet that I would pay a few bucks to pilot a giant robot of my own.

Next up is Ski Rodeo, which places you in the shoes of an alpine speed skier, dodging trees and poles at every turn. Since the Vive is already a headset, the unit doesn’t feel strange plastered to your forehead, as you would be using a set of actual ski goggles while whisking your way through the snow regardless. The game even uses a machine to blow cold air into your face, which makes you feel as if you are really in the alps zooming down a high mountain top. If you want an exhilarating slopes experience on the cheap, Ski Rodeo is the game to beat.

Train Meister is exactly what you might think: a train simulator. Though the idea might seem a bit boring from a third party point of view, simulator games have been picking of a lot of steam in the last couple of years, and the experience could help lay the tracks for the future of the simulation genre. Mirroring popular games such as Euro Truck Simulator and Farm Simulator, players are able to twist the dials and blow the horn, just as they would if they were a real conductor. If you’ve been edging to make your childhood dreams come true, this could be the game for you.

Real Drive doesn’t actually use a Vive headset at all, instead acting like a much more immersive cockpit simulator. The experience uses a large curved screen with realistic graphics, putting the player in a position where their entire field of view is encapsulated by the experience. The game isn’t technically virtual reality, but it does a fine job of making sure the user really feels like they are driving a high speed vehicle. If expensive driving sims at home aren’t your thing, you might want to give this a go, it might change your mind.

Ward Escape Omega is a horror game meant to be played with another person, prompting partners to use descriptive clues to escape from a murderous killer. To make matters worse, each player has to move around using only their vision and an electric wheelchair, which can only move so quickly. Users need to work together to survive, and it can be terrifying to try to make it out alive. If you’re into psychological thrillers such as Five Nights at Freddy’s, give this game a look. It might just blow your mind.

Last but not least is a game we wrote about last week, called Acrophobia Show. This game puts players atop a high building, with the sole purpose of saving a kitten from a perilous death at the end of a long plank. The wooden plank gives users a bit of haptic feedback, making them feel as if they are really balancing hundreds of feet in the air, just a wobble away from falling to their demise. The experience also uses tracked hand sensors, enabling the user to pick up the kitten and waddle their way to the end of the platform and back. Feedback has been wildly positive regarding the experience, and users seem to become completely immersed in the task at hand. The company has even started strapping users into a harness during the experience, as players were injuring themselves when falling a whole half inch from atop the wooden landscape.

Whether or not an arcade experience like this will ever come to locations outside of Japan has yet to be seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this pop up in popular malls in the future. Traditional arcades died out largely due to the low cost and availability of gaming, but VR still has a few generations to go before it is truly accessible to everyone, and allowing consumers to experience the technology is something that could help sales and advancement of the technology in the future.

Would you take advantage of a VR arcade in your town? Let us know.

Via: The Verge

Picture credit via: The Verge

 

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