Virtual reality is sweeping the globe and from all indications it is far more than a passing fad. Inner city Melbourne can rejoice – That VR Joint is now open in Collingwood and ready to show you a whole new world of entertainment.
My plus one and I discovered that not all VR is the same, luckily That VR Joint staff are there to help you pick from their vast array of experiences and games. That’s right, virtual reality cinema, gaming and arcades are all a feature of That VR Joint. VR films are played through the Samsung Gear headsets for a truly immersive cinema experience. The Oculus Rift simulator chair, somewhat similar to an arcade driving-chair from old-fashioned arcades, places you in the driving seat on a Formula One track or high in the sky, piloting a jet. This experience will be upgraded even further when a new hydraulic system is installed in the coming months, which will move your entire body to simulate what is happening on screen – we can’t wait to see this in action.
The VR system we enjoyed the most uses the HTC Vive, allowing you to walk around in virtual spaces. As you put on your headset and clasp the two virtual hands, you will be transported into a virtual world full of different experiences and games. On our visit here my plus one and I battled space pirates, zombies and even evil robots with our laser samurai sword. There were other experiences such as virtual rock climbing through floating platforms in the sky and an escape room style puzzle that has us crawling on our knees through tunnels and dodging laser beams to reach the exit.
One of our personal highlights was also one of the simplest VR experience offered: Job Simulator. In this experience, you take on the role of a robot, performing everyday activities. Far from being boring, it’s a huge amount of fun as you work through incredibly detailed levels. As we pretended to be in an office cubicle, pouring coffee and answering emails – all in VR – we discovered that the experience was highly interactive in how different objects interact. When we did a virtual vomit over our robotic co-worker after eating a moldy doughnut we knew we were onto a winner.
There are games suitable for people of all abilities, and while you may be tempted to jump right into the hardest game, it’s best to trust in the staff’s knowledge of where your abilities truly lie and work your way up from simple activities.
As this technology is still new and many of the games are under development, the experience you have on one week may be completely different after a regular software update. This means that every experience is kept fresh. There is currently one multiplayer game, though this is set to change once new games are released in the coming months. This is mainly an adult experience, though some games would be fine for a younger audience and lets face it – once you try this experience out once you will be hooked.
Tomas Zagoda is a filmmaker, writer, coffee addict and tall person who does not play basketball. You can follow him @TomasZagoda.
That VR Joint is open until midnight, seven days a week. Weekend and group bookings are highly recommended though walk-ins are accepted.
The venue is not accessible.