Ever since getting my first taste of an honest-to-goodness virtual reality game at this year’s BitSummit in Kyoto, I’ve become a believer that this is one of the many paths entertainment can take towards becoming that much more immersive. One thing that does leave me a little skeptical however is the spatial requirements of the average consumer, especially here in Japan where the average living room can be noticeably smaller. We’ve been seeing the technology catch-on regardless though, thanks to the efforts of a few companies constructing large, public spaces for VR tech, accompanied with interesting and wondrously-immersive software. This newest installment by Bandai-Namco is about to blow them all out of the water.
VR ZONE SHINJUKU is opening in Kabukicho – a prominent entertainment district in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Starting July 14, you can expect to have access to over 15 unique VR experiences. Definitely check out the video below for a small teaser of what to expect.
Let’s tally up the official list of experiences, shall we?
- Dragon Ball VR – Master the Kamehameha
- Hanechari (Winged Bicycle)
- Mario Kart Arcade GP VR
- Evangelion VR: The Throne of Souls
- Dinosaur Survival Run Jungle of Despair
- Fishing VR GIJIESTA
- Armored Trooper Votoms Battling Dudes
- Argyle Shift
- Gundam VR Daiba Assault
- Extreme Courage Test Machine Fear of Heights: The Show
- Immersive Horror Room Hospital Escape Omega
- Steep Downhill Ski Simulator Ski Rodeo
- Futuristic Warfare Arena Ghost in the Shell: Arise Stealth Hounds
- Giant Balloon Burst Room PANIC CUBE
- Virtual Resort Activity Trap climbing/Niagara drop
Clearly, one of the activities that we’re the most excited for is Evangelion VR: The Throne of Souls, as we’ve already spoken a bit about it. Now that we’ve seen some footage of that game in action, it won’t take any prodding from a mean scientist dad with cool glasses to get us into the robot. Rounding off the other anime-inspired activities are Dragon Ball VR – Master the Kamehameha, Argyle Shift, and Gundam VR Daiba Assault. We truly are one step closer to that 2D world reality…only you know, in 3D.
Oh, and Mario, buddy? Slow down a little. Bring that Kart to a halt. We can’t have too many amazing Mario Kart games clustered so close together. We’re still trying to tear ourselves away from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Oh well – I think I can safely speak for most in saying that it’s time to plan a VR-centric trip to Japan if you were looking for that perfect time to visit.
For even more info, check out the official announcement below:
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. (HQ: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO: Satoshi Oshita) will open the largest VR entertainment facility in Japan, “VR ZONE SHINJUKU”, in Shinjuku Kabukicho Tokyo on Friday 14th July. Reservations will be available from Friday 16th June, 12:00PM (JST). Building upon the success of its predecessor “VR ZONE Project i Can”, VR ZONE SHINJUKU will house over 15 activities.
VR ZONE SHINJUKU will also include a wide range of new non-IP VR activities where guests will be able to experience exploring a fantasy world on a winged bicycle, a horror-filled dinosaur survival run, and much more. Every activity is designed for the guests to lose themselves in the immersive VR experience. Guests will also be able to enjoy a variety of non VR activities, such as surviving from an expanding giant balloon in a locked cell, purchasing original souvenirs, and enjoy meals and activities in a virtually simulated resort themed dining space, making for a truly well-rounded entertainment experience. In addition, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. has teamed up with the popular digital art group NAKED to develop projection mapping installations in and out of the facility. The exterior will feature a projection of PAC-MAN among other images, while the inside will feature a ‘Centre Tree’ posing as the interface of the facility which will allow guests to interact with the building itself through touch.
According to Yoshiyasu Horiuchi, Executive Officer of the Amusement Business Unit for BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc., the company plans to install their VR activities in over 20 locations worldwide in order to increase the opportunities for a larger audience to enjoy their VR entertainment. “VR ZONE SHINJUKU will be the flagship location for the next-generation of entertainment,” said Executive Officer Yoshiyasu Horiuchi. “A place where BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. carries out new challenges, delivers excitement and amazement to visitors from across the globe.”
You’ll want to keep an eye on the official website for that all-important reservation system! Best of all, the website is even available in English!