Updated: Jan 21, 2019
Author: Siggy Kahama
Photo courtesy of Greenlight Insights
NEWS- Have you ever wanted to experience a world of your own creation? Do you ever wish that you were in some of your favorite video games? Well, now it is a possibility. At VR Zone Shinjuku, everyone age 7 and up can spend an entire day immersed in a world of their wildest fantasies. By putting on a pair of virtual reality goggles, you can fully submerge yourself in fun games such as Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Quest and Mario Kart.
The VR arcade is not hard to miss. The building lies right in the center of Tokyo’s entertainment district, fronting a white and gray geometric design to the public. At night, the arcade flashes vibrant neon lights and wall projections on to the streets of Shinjuku. The arcade is a large two-floor building holding about 2,000 people everyday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Inside the arcade are 13 virtual reality games ready to be played. Most of the games available allow friends and family to play with or against each other. A game can last anywhere from five to 45 minutes.
While tickets are available at the entrance, the arcade’s popularity makes it easier to get in by pre-purchasing tickets online. The VR Shinjuku arcade gives priority entrance to customers who have bought their tickets before they arrive. Customers can buy a variety of admissions tickets, one being the one day/four ticket set. For only 4,400 Yen ($40), this ticket gives access to a small number of games. To get the full experience, customers will have to buy separate tickets for individual games. For everyone 13 or older, the other tickets are 800 Yen ($7), for children aged 6 to 12, the tickets are for 500 Yen ($4.50) and for children aged 6 and under entrance is free (although they will not be able to play most of the games).
Most of the entertainment includes a virtual reality headset as well as extra equipment to give the customer a full immersive experience. When playing Mario Kart VR, you will put on the HTC Vive virtual reality headset and sit on a stationery go-kart. Each go-kart has a Mario World character attached to it. Players can choose to be either Mario, Luigi, Peach or Yoshi. Once the player is set, they put on a headset, and the go-kart will start to move like an actual vehicle while still remaining stationary on the ground. All these attributes submerge all the player’s senses into the game. Players are even prompted to reach out into the air to catch items with which to hit their opponents or leave on the track to be used as obstacles for the players behind them.
As much fun as a customer can have, there are still several conditions in order for them to engage in most of the games, like any other amusement park. People who are feeling sick prior to being on the ride, pregnant women, players who easily get motion sickness, anyone who has consumed alcohol and anyone with a weak heart or heart problems should not play, as the content of the games may be too extreme for them.
Bandam Naico, the company that owns the VR arcade, is looking to expand the Shinjuku branch as well as open up more virtual reality arcades internationally. If everything goes as planned, the company is looking to first open up an arcade somewhere in the U.K., and then continue to expand worldwide.