I’m up for anything that isn’t your typical style of physical activity. I don’t have a gym membership, but I certainly get more than my 10,000 steps in by doing other activities that you wouldn’t normally consider. So, when Bryan from VR-Here in Liverpool invited me and my Larry to check out their complete VR gaming arcade, I simply couldn’t say no!
Arriving at VR-Here Liverpool
I’m gonna get one thing out the way here. When you get there, you may find yourself confused. The building itself is part of a street of units in an industrial estate, so when we saw it we were confused as to whether we were in the right place. However, it all makes perfect sense once you go inside.
The unit is essentially a row of four open booths, with three being black and one being green for filming purposes. Each booth had a gaming computer in the corner and headsets hanging from above. I just realised as I wrote that, that it doesn’t very thrilling. It really was. It looked amazing! There was also a huge screen playing a looped video of the kinds of games they offer and what they look like. This got me very excited!
Anyway, we met with Bryan and he talked us through the day. We would begin with some warmup activities that would get us used to the virtual experience, then we would play some multiplayer games. Finally, we would play individual games that were more active.
I did not like the warmup. I will say this Bryan, old sunken ships are not a friend of mine! My fear was rather humorous, however. I think I was struggling to adjust to the fact that it wasn’t real, but old, dark, run down things kinda creep me out. I would say it got my heart racing, but it was nothing compared to what followed.
Ohhh the plank. If you have ever wanted to know what it’s like to take a lift to the top of a city building, walk across a plank and jump off into the street below, this game can do just that. I am not lying when I say I was SHAKING! Bryan even sounded worried for me. I couldn’t leave the lift. I genuinely couldn’t do it. It wasn’t even real! Luckily, there was a lower level where you can fly. I braved that one and it was rather enjoyable.
So, we were warmed up and ready for multiplayer action. The first game we played was one that, I can say with confidence, I will be playing again in the future. Raw Data is an action game where you and other players must complete missions in a futuristic building. While trying to get through the building, however, you will come face to face with a range of robots that will do anything to stop you. You need to watch your back and shoot them before they get to you. It certainly has you spinning around to keep yourself protected!
The second game was Rec Room. This has a range of games to choose from that you can invite players to join or be invited to join. This time, Larry and I were shooting each other. Was I sweating by the end of this? Ohhhh, you bet! I was terrible in comparison to Larry. However, the more I lose, the harder I try, so even though I didn’t win, I was definitely extremely warm by the time the game came to an end.
Then it was time to play separate games and these were more fitness based. The first was one I had been looking forward to the most. Beat Saber! If you haven’t seen it on your Facebook feeds then you NEED to watch the video below. If you love Guitar Hero or DDR then this game is right up your street. The aim is simple: use your “light sabres” to cut through the blocks in time with the music. It was INCREDIBLE! I’m not gonna say too much, just watch me play. My dad said I looked bored, but honestly, I was in deep concentration and it would certainly tone your muscles if you play it often enough.
I could have played this game all day, but we had more to check out. The next game that followed was another rhythm game, only this involved punching. Again, it works your arms, but in a different way. I did enjoy it, but I still think Beat Saber was the best!
Okay, this is getting long so I’ll briefly mention a few extras. Larry tried a horror game. I wanted to get a video to show you how funny it was, but I couldn’t capture it on camera properly. Just take my word for it, it’s hilarious to watch other people play. I don’t want to know what it’s like to actually play.
We were then shown a new piece of technology that isn’t actually part of their service, but it’s still really cool. Bryan attached what looked like a Bluetooth device to the front of the headset and asked me to move my hands around. I wasn’t holding any controllers at this point, but I could see my hands in animation! We tried a few simple games such as 3D painting and it was such a calming and enticing experience!
VR for Exercise
So now I have talked in DEEP detail about the day, I’ll finish this by discussing the fitness aspect. Can you get an enjoyable sweat on by playing VR games? Definitely. However, there are still a couple of kinks that will need to be worked out before you could do some real exercise. The main issue is the headset. Once any sweat seeps into the headset, it’s completely fried. There has apparently been a lot of discussions regarding whether there is a way around this or if there will be in the future, but it’s an issue for the time being.
This doesn’t mean to say I didn’t get any exercise. I definitely left feeling worked out. For now, however, this won’t be an experience that will leave you feeling like you got your “gains”. Despite this, VR isn’t necessarily something that everyone has in their life. I encourage people who are looking for one-off or less regular forms of physical activities to head down to VR-Here and experience this amazing piece of technology!
Finally, I would like to thank Bryan for this wonderful opportunity. Larry and I both loved it and we are planning on returning in the near future.