July 23, 2018
I was recently invited to stop in and experience the Survios Virtually Reality Arcade located in Del Amo Fashion Center. Survios is an American virtual reality game developer and software publisher and recently opened its first virtual reality arcade right here in the South Bay! We’ve been hearing for several years how virtual reality (VR) will be the next big thing in the gaming arena. Well, it’s here – and it’s going to be bigger than anyone imagined.
There are six elements to what is called Active VR:
IMMERSION – Being surrounded by images, sound and other stimuli that create a believable environment.
PRESENCE – Feeling or sense of actually existing within an environment.
EMBODIMENT – Having a virtual body or avatar that interacts naturally with the environment.
FREE MOVEMENT – Being completely unbounded from physical restrictions in the outside world.
SHARED SPACE – Playing and interacting with others in shared digital space.
DYNAMIC SPECTATING – Being able to view and interact with people playing in VR from the outside world.
This was my first encounter with VR and as with anything, I knew it would be more fun sharing the experience with others. So I asked a few friends to join me on this adventure and pulled together a crew of three adults, two teenagers – and after ascertaining the activity was approved for young children – one seven year old. We met at the arcade which is located in the outdoor Village Park near the AMC theater.
The arcade has separate play spaces for each gamer. (Once you witness our wild flailing, you’ll understand why there is only one person allowed in each play space.) The spaces are divided by glass walls and up to nine gamers can play simultaneously. Each play space has a wall screen showing exactly what the player is seeing through the headset. There is also seating down the center of the room for spectators.
We were introduced to the staff member who would be taking care of us and assigned a couple of play spaces. Since we were all newbies, they set us up with one of the simplest games, Fruit Ninja. No instruction is really necessary – you step into the space, they put the headset on you, adjust the fit, and give you a couple of hand controllers (technical name: HTC Vive Controller). The play spaces are roomy, with a circular carpet on the floor to keep you from roaming too far.
Fruit Ninja is set in Japan, and once you put the headset on, you find yourself in the center of a Japanese town square. As you turn your head, the view changes just as it would in real life. The controllers you’re holding show on the screen as swords in this game, and as you wave your hands, the swords mimic the action. The goal is to slice the pieces of fruit that fall from the sky with your swords.
Lucas was up first. He seemed a bit reserved once the game began, not moving his feet much, but that’s understandable since he knew we were all sitting there watching him. Once you put on the headset, you’re in a virtual world and can’t see or hear what’s going on in the real world. But he enjoyed it enough to get the details on the monthly membership!
Piper was game, and like Lucas, was cautious at first because it was a totally new experience, but it didn’t take long for her to become completely immersed in the game, swatting wildly at all that fruit.
I was up next – and having no hesitation at making a fool of myself – went full-throttle with the swords. The game was fun and easy, I was fully immersed and worked up a sweat. Once the game finished, I was so out of breathe I could barely speak.
Seven-year-old Dove took to VR like a duck to water. She was vocal, moving and completely into it. At one point, she was using her feet to kick the items she was seeing on the screen. She was stoked and already making plans to bring her dad to play next week.
We moved onto another game, Smashbox Arena, which required a bit more skill.
Lucas and Jeri played individually to get a feel for it and then played against each other. Lucas got in the zone and was much more animated. Jeri couldn’t quite grasp the concept of the game and kept shouting questions at us.… “Am I red team or blue? What am I aiming at? How do I shoot that thing? Am I winning?” Remember, we could see everything on the screen, and all of us were yelling instructions at her. I don’t know if the other gamers were as loud as us – we were pretty loud – but it was a hoot!
Dawn…. well, apparently Dawn has never played a video game in her life. She didn’t play so much as stand there waving her arms, shouting “What am I doing???” and we couldn’t stop laughing!
Playing the VR games was a ton of fun, but as spectators we were just as enthusiastic. We were in hysterics watching the action and reaction of the individual gamers. Once everyone was comfortable being in the VR world, they loosened up – talking to themselves, shouting out loud, throwing their hands up in the air in victory or groaning in defeat. The entire experience was, as advertised, out of this world and exceedingly entertaining.
Virtual reality is great for all ages! With over 30 of the hottest VR titles in the Survios Arcade catalogue, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Take your weekend to a different reality, create an unforgettable date night, or celebrate that special occasion in an exciting, new way. Here’s a look at the virtual fun we had during our visit. Keep reading for special discounts using my promo codes!
At Survios Arcade, minors under the age of 14 require guardian signature. It is recommended that children under the age of 12 take a break after 30 minutes of play time, just as is recommended for any kind of screen time. For those ages 5 to 7, it is recommended that play time is limited.
Games and Experiences:
Raw Data – Battle ninja robots to save the world from an evil mega-corporation.
Arizona Sunshine – Defend against hordes of zombies.
Smashbox Arena – Team up with and compete against your friends in a game of VR dodgeball, except in this game of dodgeball you can teleport, fly, and launch rockets!
Quivr – Equip your bow and arrow to defend against invading orcs.
Fruit Ninja VR – You know Fruit Ninja from your mobile phone, now experience it in VR!
Survios VR Arcade offers a free trial for all visitors to experience premium virtual reality at its finest. Experiences start at just $15. Use Promo Code “Jackie18” and get 20% off on all tickets and parties.
For corporate parties or birthday parties, mention this post and get a 20% discount off your party using code “Jackie18”. All parties include dedicated support from the friendly VR Guides and private arcade reservations for you and your guests. Contact Wayne Siltanen for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survios VR Arcade also offers a Membership Program. Members enjoy unlimited play on weekdays and discounted prices on weekends. Plus, members get exclusive access to special monthly events such as sneak peek previews of the newest VR games and free entry into contests and sweepstakes with prizes such as free birthday play and gift cards.
Survios VR now has a new gripping and intense Escape Room Experience. Can you escape? Try BELKO VR at Survios Arcade, California’s top virtual reality destination and see if you have what it takes to survive!
Survios is committed to inspiring the next generation by providing access to experts and experiences that inform them of new technologies, inspire new ways to learn, and educate about future career opportunities. A two-hour STEAM inspired program offers students an opportunity to learn and create through virtual reality. Students can create 3D art with Tilt Brush. With Tilt Brush, your room is your canvas, your palette is your imagination and the possibilities are endless. Or explore the world with Google Earth VR. Stroll the streets of Tokyo, soar over the Grand Canyon, or walk around the Eiffel Tower. Additional experiences include oceanography, space exploration, neuroscience, and archeology. Each experience is a unique opportunity for students to explore and learn in a new medium that is sure to leave a lasting memory!
Survios Virtual Reality Arcade is located at 3525 West Carson Street, Suite 176, Torrance, CA 90503.
Photography and videography courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography.