"Virtual reality theme park" might summon images of Oculus Rift-enabled roller coasters, digital carousels, and imaginary funnel cake, but THE VOID wants it to be more like a fusion of the best video games ever, The Matrix, and your favorite childhood laser tag joint. Unlike stay-at-home VR experiences, visitors enter the physical location of one of their Virtual Entertainment Centers (VECs) and don top-of-the-line headsets, programmed to match up any number of digital worlds to the structures THE VOID is occupying. A custom outfit that includes haptic vests and gloves let players pick up items, press buttons, and feel the (simulated) bullets, alien attacks, and dragon fire bursts teased in THE VOID's new trailer, which you can see above. In other words, playing first-person shooters with your friends may very well soon include aerobic excercise.
The immersive VR startup is fairly new—meaning there's little information thus far—but partnerships with Evermore, Optimal Design, and Unity 3D, as well as positive reviews from voices like Amir Aziz Ghahary at M.A. Interactive Arts and VR guru Chris Madsen are good signs that it checks out—which is saying something, because the experience THE VOID offers is ambitious, according to their website: "Our technology allows us to create the illusion that the player is exploring miles of terrain or incredibly tall structures without ever leaving our game pod. The end result is a physical connection to the virtual world and a sense of exploration never before possible." Obviously, it's compelling for video games, but we wonder what kinds of interactive stories that virtual reality journalist Nonny de la Peña, or filmmaker Johan Knattrup Jensen, might create in the hybrid world that is THE VOID.
GIF by Beckett Mufson via
As of now, THE VOID's only location is in Salt Lake City, Utah, but—like laser tag before it—you can expect experiences like it to spread across the continent soon.
Click here to learn more about THE VOID.