Shoot down a starship. Walk the plank. Defend a castle.
This and much more is all very possible at the immersive virtual-reality establishments currently taking NYC by storm:
Dumbo’s VR Bar, the Lower East Side’s Hubneo and Koreatown’s VR World.
Think Dave & Buster’s meets Ready Player One.
But each is also its own peculiar beast, and we’ve got the lowdown on what to expect from each.
The space may not be massive, but the universes it holds are endless. VR Bar is not technically a bar (with adult beverages) yet, but that reality is very much in the works. This space offers beginner experiences like the artistic Tilt Brush by Google, the rockstar-meets-Galaga AudioShield and the robot-annihilating Raw Data. Our favorites were soaring high above Manhattan (like one of those maverick Instagram ninjas) and walking a pirate ship’s plank. Oddly enough, one of their most popular experiences is a Job Simulator, wherein one can become an auto mechanic or gourmet chef. Personally, I much preferred testing my ninja skills in Sairento.
Open Wednesday-Sunday (Monday and Tuesday by appointment). Tickets start at $14 for 15 minutes.
Hubneo VR Lab
Lower East Side
No one looks cool doing VR. If you’ve ever sat outside the Samsung 837 space and watched people “ride the roller coaster,” you know this to be true. But in this humble editor’s opinion, this comes with one exception: race machines! And Hubneo has them on lock. The space itself is a bit dank (it is on the LES), but their equipment is state of the art. Hubneo uses motion rigs for racing, flight and space adventures, and all have been tested and optimized by real-life pilots, racers and gaming fanatics. The consoles are ideal for exploratory experiences or taking eSports to the next level.
Open 7 days a week; appointments recommended. Tickets start at $25 per experience.
Behold, “the largest virtual reality experience center located in North America and the Western Hemisphere.” But be warned, it’s located right next the the Empire State Building, and you’ll be battling tourists accordingly. The wait time for the games is minimal, but it’s not the intimate experience you get from a visit to Hubneo or VR Bar. What VR World does have going for it though is three floors and a little something for everyone, from the plank experience to Fruit Ninja to 360-degree movies to firing at arrows at ogres. To boot, there’s a Rick & Morty experience for any cartoon geeks (guilty). It ranks high on volume, medium on technology, and quite low on the protecting-your-rep scale. A load of people will look on as you swipe like a deranged fool at thin air.
Open 7 days a week. Tickets start at $39 for 2 hours.
4 East 34th Street (map)