The VRCade: Virtual Reality Arcade Launches in Jozi

CodeBros experience VR without breaking the bank!

As many of you know – Virtual Reality is no longer a fantasy that you see only in Sci-Fi shows or movies, and most definitely is not fiction. It is now easily accessible to the public, thanks to VRCade!

We were given the privilage of paying VRCade a visit at Vodacom World to test out their setup, and even though the internet signal was majorly iffy, the VR Experience was not. Inside was a clean and simple setup, but the true adventure starts when you don the headgear and hold the controls. The goal of VRCade is to make the VR Experience accessible to everybody, seeing as how Personal VR equipment is currently exceptionally expensive. You can book a session in-store at their station for R250 per hour, or you can book online via their website: https://vrarcade.co.za/book-now/

With the opening of the Johannesburg branch and at the time of writing this article, they are offering additional time options, namely: R50 for 5 minutes, R100 for 15 minutes, and R175 for 30 minutes, if you do not have enough time to indulge in a full hour session. These prices will be updated soon though, so do call through to find out about updated pricing.

Radial-G on Oculus Rift
They currently only have two stations available, so if you book for an hour or more with more than 2 people, you will need to take turns, but this is a good start to a revival of Arcades with a new look and with new experiences to offer. When the internet at Vodacom World is not giving problems, VRCade has about 25 games to offer to their customers, a few of which include Radial-G, Project Cars mainly for the Oculus, and HordeZ and Job Simulator (one of my personal favourites) for the Vive.

Before I go into our experience with the VR Equipment, please be aware that those who battle with Photosensitive Epilepsy should be wary of the games they choose, and people who battle with Motion Sickness need to seek the correct medication from their doctors – if they haven’t already – to prevent any unwanted uncomfortability during their sessions.

The Oculus was the first to be given a test drive, on a literal sense too, by playing Radial-G, a futuristic racing game with an emphasis on speed and reaction timing. I was amazed by how smooth the visuals were and the responsiveness of the headset no matter where or how I turned my head, even when leaning forward or the sides, the headset adjusted my avatar’s position. This being my first time trying out any form of VR, it took me a minute or two to adjust to this new world I found myself in, but as soon as I got started and was thrust forward in my racer, it was as though I was taken to a different time, moving along a twisting track through space, needing to look everywhere to see where the next speed boost was and adjust my course accordingly, and being able to marvel at the environments.

HordeZ on Vive
Next was the Vive, and even though it was fun to use the full motion of my body and arms to interact with the game, unfortunately the game was a bit of a let-down and did not give me that full-on immersive feel.

HordeZ seemed promising, but the zombies felt unrealistic, sprinting towards you and then briefly standing still as they reach you and then continue taking a slow stroll towards you. It felt altogether clunky. I was freaked out however by the floating skulls on fire that spat balls of fire at me every now and then (also, beware the clown zombies!). The controls were simple though, and the equipment responded seamlessly well to my flailing around. As far as first-person shooters go, I’d have preferred The Brookhaven Experiment.

Would I recommend you go try it out? Absolutely! The experience was so much fun, and the staff are friendly, willing to help and give you a quick but understandable tutorial on how the controls and gear work. The only thing that is missing, which VRCade cannot be faulted for, is the terrible internet being provided at Vodacom World, which is something required for their multiplayer experience. The time I spent with the equipment left me wanting more, so go give it a try.

The CodeBros VRCade Experience

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