Last week some of the TV and City writers had the opportunity to visit VR WORLD NYC (www.vrworldnyc.com). This cool new experience opened at the end of June right across from the Empire State Building at 4 East 34th Street. Billing itself as “the largest virtual reality experience center on this side of the planet”, the three floors hold a great array of varied VR experiences.
Explaining that they are trying to bring the VR experience to the masses and not just to those who can purchase headsets, VR world has curated games from different developers that provide a range of experiences. You can play Fruit Ninja, draw in 3D, race a car, shoot aliens or zombies, or walk out of an elevator up high above a New York street. Each game is displayed on a big screen so people can watch what you are seeing while you play. Each station has a very helpful employee who will help you with the equipment and explain the game. Everything is maintained well and is kept sanitary as participants wear disposable masks before donning the headsets.
The first and third floors have games, and the middle floor has an exhibit about virtual reality with videos to watch. We were so busy playing that we didn’t have time to see the exhibit. That’s actually a great indicator of how much time you can spend at VR world – daily passes sell for $39 before 3 p.m. and for $49 after 3 p.m. Attendees receive a RFID bracelet, which will allow them to have access to any of the VR experiences for an unlimited time during business hours.
There’s a small bar and the place has a nice vibe – a great place for friends to hang out or colleagues to go after work. In fact, the place became busier later in the evening, so families are better off attending earlier in the day when the lines won’t be as long. It’s a perfect place for families with children of multiple ages – kids over 7 are admitted (14 and under need an adult with them) and many of the stations are kid-appropriate.
The day before we visited Steven Spielberg warned that a future ruled by virtual reality is coming “whether we like it or not.” Presenting his new film Ready Player One, Spielberg said he sees VR as opening new possibilities, where humans are able to do ‘anything you can possibly imagine’. VR World hopes to engage educators to bring their students so they can learn about this new medium and how it’s being employed in various fields.
We had a great time and can imagine going back again soon! After two hours we had only played about a third of the games so there’s a lot to experience. Whether you live in NY or are visiting, a stop at VR World should be on your list of places to see!