DISCLAIMER: I was not reimbursed in any way for writing this review. All opinions are strictly my own.
For Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive a voucher from a friend for two people for a 40 minute session at Springvale’s Black Site VR. Springvale is a suburb on the Eastern side of Melbourne roughly 20 minutes from the city. I decided to take my cousin with me who hadn’t had any experiences with Virtual Reality up until this point. I have had experiences with the Oculus before but really didn’t know what to expect because this was the first time I was going to experience VR outside a friend’s house in a room specifically designed for it. The actual venue itself was located in a small arcade off Springvale Road. Once we got there we were greeted by one of the staff members there and he took us through to the VR rooms to help get us set up.
The rooms themselves were open plan square rooms with HTC Vive headsets and controllers as well as tape being put down across the floor to act as in-game barriers so we wouldn’t bump into the walls accidentally while playing the VR games. As the staff member got us both set up for the first game, I noticed that the controllers were easy to grip in my hands and the trigger buttons were located in positions that were easy enough to reach.
The first game that my cousin and I played was called Launch Squad which is an early-access multiplayer game that pits you and other players against each other in a paintball arena. To move around the arena you use the circular pad to essentially teleport to other locations as well as moving around inside the in-game blue square for strategic shots. To shoot paintballs you use the controllers like a slingshot and use the left-handed controller as a shield when you aren’t lining up a shot. It was a lot of fun and pretty easy to play though my cousin absolutely annihilated me. I was also surprised that the experience was quite smooth and everything was pretty responsive.
The second game we played was called Quivr which was an archery co-op game where we tried to stop creatures from bringing down our gate by killing them with arrows. First you extend your arm over your shoulder to grab arrows from your quiver then line up the shot with the bow and fire. Getting arrows from a quiver on your back I thought was a nice touch though I had a little bit of trouble getting the arrow on the bow at times. You can also teleport to strategic points around the arena to get a better vantage point of your enemies by shooting your arrows into blue circles. While we had loads of fun playing this game, unfortunately the creatures knocked down our gate due to our inexperience.
The final game that we played was called Arizona Sunshine which was a zombie survival game where you fight off waves of zombies with an onslaught of gunfire. The game mode we played placed us in a makeshift base where zombies would surround us from all sides. This game’s controls were a bit more complex than the other two games so it took us a few attempts to get through the first wave of zombies. To kill zombies you use your gun to shoot them in the head, eventually you run out of ammo so you have to pull the gun towards you to reload. After a while, you will have to reload the magazine with more ammo from your ammo storage by using your left hand and bringing it towards your chest. This was sometimes difficult as while I was in a panic I kept dropping my magazines of ammo on the floor which lead to zombies killing me when I was crouching on the floor trying to pick them up and put them in my gun. Nonetheless the game was a lot of fun.
Overall I had a great time at Black Site VR, the staff member was very attentive and the future of VR certainly looks promising. The games we played were very immersive and great fun to play but my favourite was Quivr because the controls were intuitive and I liked the feeling of teaming up with my cousin to stop the oncoming hordes of creatures trying to get through the gate. I would definitely recommend giving this place a go for someone interested in experiencing VR for the first time or someone who is even remotely curious about it. The link is provided below.
Small Life Update: Hello to all of you. I realise I haven’t posted on here for a while and here’s why. I was successfully admitted into a Master of Professional Psychology which after two years will allow me to become a fully registered psychologist. So the last month has been really hectic with study and reshuffling other things that unfortunately I haven’t had the time to write content. From here on in, I will try and post on here as often as possible but please bear with me that it won’t be as regular as it has been up until now. Thanks again to all of you for your continued support.