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iN VIDEO: New Penticton virtual reality studio will elevate your experience

Dustin Ramsbottom recently opened Elevated Gaming at 737 Main St. in Penticton.
October 16, 2020 - 7:30 AM

There’s a new virtual reality studio in Penticton that promises to provide some much-needed indoor entertainment to Penticton residents facing a long, COVID-19-restricted winter.

Dustin Ramsbottom recently opened Elevated Gaming Ltd. at 737 Main St. in Penticton.

The virtual reality studio and media lab has two virtual reality rooms with room to expand when the partially shuttered COVID-19 economy begins to open up again.

“It’s not the best time in the world to introduce live entertainment,” Ramsbottom admits, but coming from a bar and hospitality background, he understands the need for cleanliness, especially in today’s times.

He takes extra steps to ensure all equipment is properly disinfected after each use, including a double decontamination through use of a ultraviolet light box.

“I want people to know I take health and cleanliness seriously,” he says.

Elevated Gaming has a ‘menu’ listing up to 80 visual, social multiplayer and puzzle and action categories to pick a virtual reality experience from.

Ramsbottom says he tries to figure out what a client is most interested in experiencing. 

“For instance, if they want to be in space, there are a number of possibilities, including a Spacewalk VR that is so real it has a vertigo element to it. Some are like three dimensional mini-movies. All are different and all have a “wow” factor,” he says.

Ramsbottom offered me an opportunity to view “Allumette,” an animated story loosely based on a Hans Christian Anderson tale.

The 3-D animation is hard to find fault with; it honestly feels like you are part of the animation. Anywhere you look, you’ll see the scene, up down or sideways. From the viewer’s vantage point, it feels like you’re in the clouds, and while looking down at objects moving below, it’s really easy to feel dizzy.

The storyline has a surprise ending as well, not only inducing the senses but emotions, too.

Social multiplayer games are also popular. From the Elevated Gaming studio, a player can join up with anyone, anywhere in the world.

“My favourite social multiplayer game is ‘Echo,’ Ramsbottom says.

Set in a space station, it allows players to move in zero gravity by grabbing and pushing off of the environment.

I was intrigued by the spacewalk experience, "BBC Spacewalk" and Ramsbottom generously gave me a tryout.

The visuals are stunning, wrapping around you so completely it’s hard not to get vertigo when movement is experienced. It reminded me of a ride I once took at Disney World, only here I was, sitting in a studio chair in Penticton, working alongside the space station with the Earth and the vastness of space in the background.

All clichés aside, I believe the BBC Spacewalk is probably one of the best ways to experience space without leaving the comfort of your own hometown.

Virtual realists are asked to sit to start, since it can be easy to lose track of where one is when engaged in virtual reality.

“There are two ways of doing a booking, a guided virtual reality tour, where both myself and the client are in it together, or on your own, where I monitor the experience and show you how to live in a virtual world,” he says.

Once comfortable, virtual realists can book a studio by the hour at $16.

A guided experience is $35 per hour.

Ramsbottom also provides room and equipment to do live streaming, virtual events and regular gaming as well, with such favourites as Call of Duty, Overwatch and Fortnight.

The virtual reality studio opened Oct. 1 Ramsbottom advertised free game time to those wishing to test the games.

"It was well-received, but there was still some hesitation, I think due to COVID-19. I want people to get past that. I look after things," he says.

Elevated Gaming is open from noon to 10 p.m. most days. Ramsbottom prefers clients book on his website if possible.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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