BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Lacombians are invited to test out the latest in gaming technology as they enter the immersive world of virtual reality gaming.
Owner Sebastian Oana is excited to have recently opened Lacombe’s very first virtual reality (VR) arcade. For $25, guests can come try out the equipment and games for an hour. The Gallery Virtual Reality Arcade is located on Main Street in the previous home of the Gallery on Main.
Virtual reality is a completely immersive experience, where with the adornment of a headset and a few sensor paddles, a user is transport away from their home – or in this instance, local arcade – and can be swept away from their surroundings, brought into a world of imagination and exploration.
Oana said it’s an experience most people should try at least once, but that they will often be hooked and back for more.
“When you put that headset on, you’re gone,” Oana said with a laugh. “You’re not in Lacombe anymore. Whatever world I start for people, they are there.”
From mountain-top views, to underwater adventures, to everyday tasking games and more immersive fighting games, Oana’s arcade has nearly everything.
There are currently three stations set up in the arcade available to the public.
“It’s cold outside right now, and people sometimes come in from the cold feeling shy or grumpy because of the weather. I get them ready to go with the headset and handles, and when they come out of the experience they are glowing with happiness. Every single time. I’ve had no negative response so far,” Oana said.
He explained that he’s been a gamer for many years and is excited to see this technology finally become available to people. He said it’s impractical for people to be able to afford the set-up in their homes, so it made sense for him to open the facility and share the experience.
The arcade is stylized with retro equipment and some seemingly post-apocalyptic design. A person is fitted with the headset, given the controllers and off they go.
There are a wide variety of games, from cooking games and a job simulator to intense fighting games. As well, there are a number of artistic games that allow guests to explore their creativity under virtual reality. Sport games and adventure-style worlds are also available.
The arcade is recommended for children ages 13 and up, due to the immersive nature and for some mature content. Adults of any age are welcome into the arcade.
“My father, who doesn’t even own a smart phone, puts on the headset and just loves it. Really, almost anyone can do it and they will have fun – guaranteed,” Oana said.
He said he looks forward to bringing some fun and a smile to people’s face as they take their turn at the Gallery Virtual Reality Arcade. First-time visitors will recieve a complimentary tutorial. To book a session, contact the arcade via their facebook or Twitter accounts or phone 403-348-9466.