Virtual reality arcade revolutionising social gaming in Hamilton

Virtual reality arcade revolutionising social gaming in Hamilton

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Gretta Rodriguez-Fleming, one of the founders of VREX, first discovered virtual reality gaming four months ago and ...

DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFF

Gretta Rodriguez-Fleming, one of the founders of VREX, first discovered virtual reality gaming four months ago and instantly fell in love.

Hamilton residents ​will soon be able to defend medieval villages from orcs without any repercussions.

Or for those more inclined to travelling the world, a stroll to see the Trevi​ Fountain in Rome may be better suited.

Almost anything will be possible when the world of virtual reality comes home to Hamilton next month.

Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated experience that creates environments that can be similar to, or not possible in, the real world.

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For Rodriguez-Fleming VR is a chance to be a "badass".

DOMINICO ZAPATA/STUFF

For Rodriguez-Fleming VR is a chance to be a “badass”.

Players can face their fear of heights by jumping off a building with no consequences, or stare in the bloodthirsty eyes of rabid zombies without panic.

For Gretta​ Rodriguez-Fleming, virtual reality is a chance to be a “badass​”.

Rodriguez-Fleming, 27, is one of the founders of VREX​, a virtual reality arcade that is set to open in Garden Place in September.

The site will feature six booths each equipped with a virtual reality system, headset, and controllers, and players can connect either individually or with a team of support.

There will be between 10-15 games for players to choose from, for all ages and abilities, and Rodriguez-Fleming hopes VREX can front the revolution of traditional arcades.

“The major changing game-factor is the full immersion experience; how it is able to stimulate your brain and has the potential for education and fitness opportunities.

“VR also costs quite a lot which is a reason why people would love the opportunity to come to an arcade. To set it up, you have to have quite a capable computer to run the graphics, you need the headset, and you need a reasonable amount of free space dedicated to VR, so you don’t bump into anything,” she said.

For one complete system, it can cost up to $5,000.

And although VR technology is relatively new, Rodriguez-Fleming believes those familiar with gaming, and those who are not, will all be able to enjoy the virtual experience.

“People have grown up along traditional games and computers, so for some, this is their first chance to engage in a more real life world, in a virtual world, but in a physical way,” she said. 

“VR is something that the adult population, young professionals, as well as students, could really get in to.”

However, Rodriguez-Fleming said VREX​ will not condone unhealthy gaming patterns and will monitor those using the machines.

The arcade will officially open at 12 Garden Pl, Hamilton, on Saturday, September 15. Bookings are recommended and can be made at the beginning of the month; however, walk-ins will also be welcomed.

Over opening week, VREX will have a special $10-for-20-minute deal. Following this, a standard charge of $1 per minute applies. 

For more information, visit www.vrex.co.nz


 – Stuff

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