Be Here, Be Still… In Virtual Reality

Ah, nothing says embracing your word (phrase) of the year and living in the moment like a day out at a virtual reality arcade. Arena? Building? I don’t know the correct terminology.

Last year when my son changed his last name I planned on taking him and a few of his friends out for a day of fun. One of the things he wanted to do was this virtual reality game. He had gone earlier with another friend and loved it. Anyway, it was closed on the day we were going so we didn’t get to do it and I just haven’t ever gone back.

Fast forward to this weekend. The mobster has been begging me to buy him an Occulus (jokingly, of course…. I think….). Two of his sons have one and they’ve had so much fun playing it. Picasso bought himself one a few months back as well. He saw that we have several virtual reality places in town and really wanted to go. I really didn’t have much interest. I was going to go with my son because it was something we could do together. Despite my many campaigns to let him know how much I think he would enjoy a pedicure Picasso has remained steadfast in his belief that he would not enjoy such a thing. So I was willing to bend a little to have that time with him.

Then the mobster got me right in the heart. “You always said you’d try anything once.” Ouch!

Okay. Off we went. Me, reluctantly. The mobster and Picasso excitedly.

It was So. Much. Fun! I have to get my daughter and her boyfriend up here and have the five of us go one day. 

We did the zero latency game. Basically, you wear this life vest along with your goggles and headset. They give you a gun. You’re in a large room and you wander through this room. There were tasks you had to perform along the way. Thankfully you could never get kicked out of the game because I ended up dying four times.

If you’ve never done a virtual reality game I have to tell you it is so real. You know it’s not but your mind plays tricks. At one point we were supposed to go up this ramp that was outside a building. It was just like being outside and staring down God only knows how many stories as you stay close to the wall and get from one point to another.

I couldn’t do it. I was like, “Nope. Game’s over. I’m not moving.” The game master was instructing those of us who were big babies, letting us know that another worker was right around the corner and he’d take our hand. I finally came to the realization that all I had to do was lift my goggles. That’s what I did. Pushed those suckers up and walked right through that little bit of the game. Look up, my ass! Just take the damn goggles off!

As far as shooting zombies went I did not come in last. That honor went to the only other female in our group. Picasso was the overall winner and the mobster came in second. He actually had more kills than Picasso but Picasso had more head shots and a slightly greater overall score.

The game lasted 30 minutes but I swear, it didn’t feel anywhere that long.

We also played two rounds in the Omni Arena. Those are only 10 minutes but thank God for that! After the first one I think I had an episode of exercise induced asthma! I could not stop coughing.

This game says it’s on a treadmill but I think that’s a bit of a misnomer. They’re more like mini trampolines that don’t bounce. They aren’t moving. You are. You wear slippers over your shoes and they have little round monitors, like the ones you would wear for tracking time at a race, that they put into these slippers.

Our first game, of course, was battling zombies. The weapons changed so quickly I’m sure there were times I was trying to take someone’s head off with a pistol. I kept running into things (virtually, of course) and then I’d have to fight through a swarth of zombies that had me pinned in.

My pants kept falling down which was distracting. Well, they didn’t fall all the way down. They were just beginning to slide down. Still distracting.

We let the other group go ahead of us before we did our second game because we were all tired. In this game you’re constantly running and you have to run on that circle to make your character move. No movement, no game.

We ended up spending almost 4 hours out with an ice cream break in between games. We were exhausted by the end of the night.

What can I say? The mobster is almost always right and he was definitely right in this case. I had a blast and am looking forward to going back. I’m still not going outside the side of that building, though.

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