July 14, 2016 - 6:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - Ever wanted to shoot zombies and then go deep sea exploring? A new business in Kamloops happens to offer both but with a bit of a twist.
Reality Check Virtual Studios on the North Shore is using a high end virtual reality system to take customers to the front lines of a battle or into a sculptors studio among many others, says owner Noah Chardon.
“First person shooters are a lot of fun and really popular,” he says. “But the difference is with this, look up, look around, look behind you, and you’re in the game."
The gaming system is called an HTC Vive, and using a high end computer and lasers, it can track a person's movements. The headset uses screens and headphones to immerse the person in a new world while they move around in the studio and the game environment.
Chardon’s preference is the zombie game, which allows users to shoot zombies in a cartoon world, but the studio has 16 games and four non-game experiences to try, from dress making to car racing. Depending on the game, it can get physical, as players have to draw back bows to fire arrows, or toss grenades at oncoming hordes.
“We have a dungeons and dragons type game, where you’ve got your sword and shield and you have to block their attacks and they're wearing armour,” he says. “You can’t just hit them and do damage, you have to try to get in there, wait for his shield to come up.”
The games are part of the growing augmented reality and virtual reality trend, with Pokemon GO being at the forefront of a lot of gaming discussions right now. Human brains are hardwired to interact with real world objects, says Dr. Craig Chapman, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the University of Alberta in a press release, which means these games tap into something classic video games can’t match on a computer or television screen.
“As rapid advances are made in augmented reality and immersive virtual reality we are in some ways returning our brain to a more natural state,” he says in the release. “In my opinion, we are on the brink of an explosion of augmented reality and virtual reality into all aspects of life — gaming and beyond.”
Only one person can play at a time at the Reality Check studio, but Chardon says they’ll take groups of up to six at time. It’ll run users $40 to use the room for an hour. The studio is located at 618 Tranquille Rd. Chardon says he’s planning to hold an open house to public tomorrow, July 15 starting at 11 a.m. and the room and system is available for bookings now.
Noah Chardon and the Reality Check studio, which can take on the role of medieval battlefield or coral reef.
(BRENDAN KERGIN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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