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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Have VRcades In LA? Yeah, And IMAX VR Is Leading The Pack

After promises of Project StarCade, a VRcade coming from Starbreeze, the same people behind PayDay 2, we held our breath. This was all from the first VR Expo a year ago with a promise of an arcade in Spring 2016.  Now, we have multiple VRrcades that have popped up around LA. The biggest, however, is the brand new IMAX VR Experience Centre. Which happens to have a deal with StarBreeze, though it's past its Spring date promise. And though, it won't win any awards for an original name or even a good one, as IMAX VR Experience Centre just rolls off the tongue, it does promise high-end licensed VR. And don't ask us if were getting that cool Ghost Busters VR that was in New York, because that's a whole other thing.

What we do have is the just opened, I mean it just opened at the start of the month, IMAX VR Experience Centre. Which we'll just call IMAX VR for the rest of this article. This place looks like the most state of the art VRcade in the country, because for right now, it is.

Planned as the first of six that will be coming around the rest of the U.S.A. this has the feel and look of something brand new in the field. Although the rest of the VRcades that will be listed in this article all have seemingly nice web-sites and good Yelp reviews, this business, the physical location, was made to house VR gear and equipment. From the also recent Wired article on the location was info that the space was designed to be modular, giving the sci-fi playfulness name of "pods" to the space your allotted for VR that can be made bigger or smaller for your needs by moving the walls. Hardware is stored in the ceiling and the location simply didn't just put VR in an empty space, but specifically designed it to be VR accessible. On a good note the Wired article entails IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond being open to change and let the experience grow. Which it may need to with how fast the tech changes in the industry.

For us though, we reap the benefits. When you go, you'll probably be be fitted with a Starbreeze StarVR headset that gives a 210-degree field of view in 5K resolution, from there you can wield a lightsaber. Yeah, you can do it in Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine.The dream of wielding the ancient weapon of the Jedi and Sith can be in your least in VR. It can also be a gun in John Wick Chronicle. Moms and Dad don't worry, they do have age restrictions like a movie theater, sorry kids.

It's not all guns and lightsabers they have stuff for the little kids like Rabbids VR Ride; some escape type games and flying with eagles in some sort of dumb future when humans no longer exist. We're just saying save your tacked-on Sundance messages and let us fly like eagles. That with what will be an ever expanding array of titles as more are created, very similar to movies coming to a theater.

From what we've read and seen so far there are plans beyond these simple experiences with more, like multiplayer, but those games need to be made still. We'll all have to see what IMAX VR shapes into as it just opened and if it can expand into something that maybe compare to going to the movies.

IMAX VR Experience Centre
157 S Fairfax Ave
Across from The Grove
Between $10 for a single experience and $25 to try multiple experiences
As of writing this, site did not allow purchase of tickets online

To try out the more common systems a few other VRcades have opened up around LA. (If you're one of them and we don't have you listed or know of another please e-mail us with the info)

These arcades have more of the games that available to anyone with VR Gear. So if you've never got to try just wearing any sort of VR gear you have a chance.

VR TERRITORY Virtual Reality Gaming Center
Two locations
(818) 938 1016

Northridge, Los Angeles
17074 Devonshire St, Northridge CA 91325

Downtown, Los Angeles
734 S Main St, Los Angeles CA 90014

3611 Cahuenga Blvd W,
Hollywood, CA, 90068
+1 (323) 975-0735