Virtual reality is no longer just a figment of science fiction stories, technology that’s centuries away from us. Now, it’s a luxury we can have in our own homes. I have always followed VR development closely, as the entertainment possibilities intrigue me; I use my Oculus Go almost every day. But the most easily-accessible VR tech can only do so much. By making the technology affordable and easy to use, developers have to make sacrifices to performance, and while the end results can still be spectacular, the visuals and interactivity of home VR right now is limited. But not all VR experiences are home VR experiences: enter THE VOID.
THE VOID is a “whole-body, fully immersive VR experience” that doesn’t allow us to just watch in VR or play in VR, but totally experience another world within a specialized space and using high-end technology.
The marketing and descriptions of the void are purposefully cryptic (probably to maintain its mysterious, futuristic air). So what actually is THE VOID? It’s kind of like the 4D experiences or the guided attractions at an amusement park. You and your group start out in what can best be described as an equipment lobby. If you’ve ever played laser tag, think of the room where you put on your vest and laser gun, except you’re putting on a goofy robot helmet and a vest with some straps. It’s all fairly easy to suit into, and quite comfortable. The helmet is most comparable to the PlayStation VR helmet, but a bit bulkier. The visor attached to the helmet is easy to adjust to your face. The helmet also comes with the clever addition of an attached headset that makes communicating with your group members simple and clear. I almost feel guilty about it, but it was pretty funny hearing my girlfriend’s screams of terror (have I mentioned that THE VOID is VERY realistic?) The vest is also easy enough to strap into. It’s a special piece of equipment that tracks your movement—it even vibrates and tightens as you interact with the VR game. Once your equipment is on and calibrated, you’re loaded into the space, where you can see all the other players’ avatars and the newly transformed world.
With the helmets visor on over your eyes, THE VOID turns the space around you into the currently loaded world and you’re led on the guided experience. There is very little risk of crashing into people and objects. When you move, your character moves 1-to-1; the walls and bars of the actual room become the virtual walls in THE VOID world; if you get too close to a wall, you’ll be able to see as much; and again, you can see everyone else’s avatar exactly where they are, so as long as you don’t walk your character into a wall another character, you won’t crash in the real space.
We did the Ghostbusters experience. The experience isn’t that long, but right from the moment you slide your visor over your eyes, you’re thrust into the world of the Ghostbusters. A coffee run? More like a “let’s defend New York City with our lives” run. This scenario takes place in a haunted apartment, where your group is tasked with—what else?—busting some ghosts! There’s no way to describe the experience other than completely immersive. If you can see it, you can interact with it. You can pick up objects with your positron collider, feel everything that happens to you with the help of the aforementioned vest (which can actually be pretty scary during intense moments), and even smell your environment. Yeah, smell. You’ll see. There were some really spectacular moments in the Ghostbusters experience that I thought made it worth every penny. My highlight was a particularly suspenseful elevator sequence. I won’t spoil anything for fans eager to try this themselves, but if you’re able to go, THE VOID Ghostbusters experience is an absolute must for fans of the franchise.
So how was my overall experience? I really loved the VOID. I think it is an amazing time for families and friends to enjoy together. It can be hard to find an activity that you and your loved ones can truly share and work together in, but the void nails that to allow technology in the digital age to actually bring people together. The mechanics work seamlessly, the visuals are perfect, and the staff is as friendly as you could ask for. Not to mention, the attraction is very flexible; multiple experiences can be loaded into the program. In THE VOID, guests can enjoy universes such as: Ghostbusters; Nicodemus: The Demon of Evanishment; and the guest favorite Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire. And you can’t go wrong with a group photo, which makes for an excellent purchase if I do say so myself!