Carli Berry/Capital News Jimmy Tan, director at Kelowna Escape Games, holds a HTC Vibe head set which transports the wearer into the virtual reality world. Escape Games is the first virtual reality arcade in Western Canada.

Capital News reporters step into virtual reality

Two reporters experience Kelowna’s first virtual arcade, Kelowna Escape Games

A Kelowna company is taking the next step in arcade gaming.

The city’s first virtual reality business, called Kelowna Escape Games, features virtual reality simulations that has participants chopping fruit, shooting alien robots and fighting off a hoard of zombies.

Okanagan digital editor Jen Zielinski and I got a first-hand experience using the HTC Vibe headsets, which transported us to other worlds.

I felt a rush of adrenaline when director Jimmy Tan placed me in a walk-the-plank simulation.

After standing in a virtual elevator, the door opens to reveal a plank. When the gamer steps off of it, they are plunged to the ground below and enter a virtual heaven.

I hesitated to step off the plank, even though I don’t have a fear of heights, it created a feeling of unease.

My awkward movements while in the moment gave Tan and his cousin William a laugh, along with my film buddy Zielinski.

My favourite was fighting against hoards of aliens. Two controllers held in each hand act as a gun or shield. By exchanging the gun for a shield with the flick of my arm, I was able to survive until round eight.

The experience was much more riveting than Street Fighter, that’s for sure.

Virtual reality rooms are rented by the hour at $25 per room. Tan recommends having a least two people in a party to enjoy the fun.

Players can also rent multiple virtual reality rooms where they can play together online.

Being the first western virtual reality company, Escape Games’ second location is set up at 2323 Hunter Road.

Tan decided to open a location in Kelowna because it’s a growing city and there’s two post-secondary schools.

This weekend, four escape rooms will also be up and running, which offer puzzle games in order to get to the next room.

They do birthday parties as well, or as an alternative to the bar scene, said Tan.

Kelowna Virtual Games is open from 4 to 12 p.m. Monday to Thursday, with Friday, Saturday and statutory holidays from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

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