In July 2016, The Void took the VR world by storm. A brand new virtual reality experience opened in Madame Tussaud’s in New York to rave reviews. People from all over New York City had the opportunity to be a Ghostbuster, something that the majority of us dreamed of being when we were children. Of course, I was pretty bummed out thinking how much it would cost to travel to New York to see some virtual reality. Then, it was announced that a faculty would be built in Lindon, Utah, approx. 30 minutes south of Salt Lake City. I happen to live in Utah, so this was fantastic news for me! Last Friday, I drove down to the facility to see what immersion VR is all about. Keep in mind that this article will have a few spoilers, so be warned!
The building itself is big and spacious. I was a little surprised to see such a large building, then was immediately hit with thoughts of how The Void potentially has room to grow and create new episodes in their huge building.
I walked in and was immediately greeted by very friendly staff. The made sure I had my ticket and told me about the waiver that I needed to sign. Everyone one who participates must sign a waiver. Minors will need parent permission and must have a parent sign the waiver. I asked about children coming to The Void and the explained that it is recommended for people 10 and up or 48″ and taller. After I checked in and signed the waiver, I waited a few minutes in the waiting area. There were plenty of couches and places to sit. It was fun checking out some of the work spaces and seeing the promotional images playing on the big screen. I was then led to a small area where were watched an instructional video about immersive VR.
I keep using the term “immersion VR” because that is exactly what it is. Imagine a combination of VR, interactive effects, and physical rooms and sets, and you will have an idea of what immersion VR is. The things you see in virtual reality are combined with physical sets to give you a true sense of immersion with the game. It is also a huge help to those who have a little bit of trouble adjusting to the virtual reality. Anyone who feels dizzy or needs a little assistance can reach out and literally touch the wall you are seeing in the visor.
After the video, I went to put on the equipment. The tech was pretty awesome. I wore a head mounted display, a vest with a gaming computer (Backtop™) and a gun. The whole system uses Rapture™ hardware. Void is partnered with several incredible companies including Unity 3D, Leap Motion, OptiTrack, Nvidia, and Integration Corp to give people an incredible VR experience. The equipment was not too heavy. I believe it was about 10-15 pounds all together. Everything is adjustable to fit your needs. I am a pretty big guy and everything fit comfortably. I also wear glasses, and you are more than welcome to wear glasses with the visor.
Now let’s talk about the Ghostbuster’s Experience – it was everything I had hoped for and more! You and up to 3 other people go through a haunted building in New York. The effects make the experience very enjoyable. Not only are you seeing incredible details, but you also feel wind from outside the building and wetness from a certain slimy ghost that you encounter. I don’t want to spoil too much, but one part especially exhilarating for me (warning – spoilers). At one point during the experience, you are outside and have to walk across a scaffold that wobbles as you go across. It was terrifying, especially because you were 50 stories up….in the virtual world, that is. With the shaking of the platform and the wind blowing at you, I truly felt I was on the edge of a building. I had a few minor hiccups with my gun where the frame rate wasn’t very smooth. But overall, The Void was the best virtual reality experience I have ever had.
Of course, I wish the experience was a little longer, but perhaps that will change as new adventures are developed and released for the public. At $25 a ticket, I would say it is a little pricey but well worth it. I can only hope that more facilities will pop up all over the country so more people can experience it. For right now, citizens of New York, Dubai, and Utah will have the opportunity to try immersive VR.
For more information, or if you want to purchase tickets, visit their website HERE. Again, I cannot recommend The Void enough and hope you all have the chance to try it one day. As for me, I will make frequent trips to The Void and can’t wait to try out their next adventures.