Downtown Portland has a brand new arcade—but this time instead of pumping quarters into classic cabinets and tables from the ‘80s and ‘90s, you’ll be strapping on Oculus and HTC headsets, picking up state of the art motion motion controllers, and venturing into the rapidly-expanding world of virtual reality.
Co-founded by former US Army soldier and Oculus early adopter Jason Benninger, Uncharted Realities aims to bring VR to the public with a curated journey that forgoes the costly hardware investment and the need to dedicate an entire room in your living space in order to get the full experience. Unlike traditional gaming, watching a video of a VR title will only give you a general idea of what’s in store, and it isn’t until you’re fully immersed and navigating a world on your own terms that you begin to see the vast potential of the medium.
The new space contains over a half-dozen VR stations offering full room-scale set ups, meaning the only thing you’ll need to concern yourself with is selecting a game or experience from the expansive list of titles offered by SpringboardVR, a VR distribution platform that partners with developers and publishers to bring these unique experiences to an arcade-like setting. Fortunately, Benninger offers an introductory package, giving newcomers the opportunity to find their “VR legs” with help from a pair of critically acclaimed titles that don’t stray too far from the traditional arcade experience.
Beat Saber, from Czech-based indie studio Hyperbolic Magnetism, is essentially Dance Dance Revolution for Jedis. You wield a pair of lightsabers and attempt to slash beats (represented by small cubes) as they fly at your face in time with the music. Play well, and you’ll add perfect instrumentation to the handcrafted music on your way to racking up a high score.
Meanwhile, I-Illusions’ Space Pirate Trainer sets players on the deck of a futuristic spaceship and tasks them with fighting off waves of droids using a high-tech blaster and shield. Think House of the Dead or Time Crisis, only this time you’ll be able to physically dodge incoming attacks and pull off some impressive trick shots along the way. From there, you’ll get to select your next experience, be it another traditional arcade-style game, a puzzle-oriented escape room designed for group play, or a more casual experience designed to let you travel and explore scenic locations both real and imagined.
Uncharted Realites is already open for business, offering players of all skill levels the chance to purchase individual packages, all-day passes, and monthly subscriptions, along with party and team building packages. You can check out their website for info on hours and rates, or better yet, drop in at 933 SW 3rd on Friday, November 9th from 4 pm to midnight for an official grand opening celebration offering free demos, prizes, refreshments, and the chance to plunk down $10 and participate in a Beat Saber tournament beginning at 7pm.
Uncharted Realities, 933 SW 3rd, unchartedrealities.com