My First Time in a Virtual Reality Experience
Cat’s out of the bag—we’re so thrilled to bring VR to Red Door in just a few days! Last week, we uncovered some of the similarities and differences of virtual reality and escape rooms and I did sprinkle in a bit about my experience trying out VR. But today, in the spirit of celebrating Red Door’s open bookings for VR, I’m sharing more details about my first time at the Virtual Room in LA, our partners in this exciting new adventure!
Before my visit to the Virtual Room, I didn’t know what to expect with VR. The deepest I’d ventured into VR before this had been sticking my phone in one of those cardboard box goggles. And let me tell you, that’s severely underwhelming in comparison.
This past summer I had the opportunity to try Virtual Room with my family. When I got there, I put my phone away in a locker and had a quick briefing with a VR employee before he led me to my individual room. That last detail shocked me as I wondered how I’d be able to work with my team. But although I stood alone in a small room, I still had teammates in the rooms around me (whom I could hear through my headset) and opponents in the rooms opposite. And although I stood alone in a small room, the VR tech transported me to a world larger than life. My team and I had also been transformed into different colored avatars in this new world. I’m pretty sure we just oohed and aahed for the first couple of minutes. We began in a room of four computers in which we needed to type our player names and emails. A simple enough task...you’d think (read last week’s blog). But it truly is easy once you find your land legs—or your virtual hands. Once we finished this task, the environment shifted and we started our first mission.
Now that the missions had begun, I readied my brain for all the puzzles and clues that would surely come my way. Instead, I found that I needed to use my intuition to complete a number of meticulous challenges. I needed to trust my curiosity. I explored my space in the VR landscape, finding that opening cabinets and collecting intel and objects helped my team progress. The simple task: find the pieces that will help you save the time-traveling Alpha team and repair the temporal rift. As we moved through many different environments—from our futuristic headquarters to precarious platforms, outer space, ancient ruins, and the Mesozoic Era—I felt awestruck by the details of the game design. I exercised caution when I stood near a cliff’s edge and I shielded myself from things coming close to me, then laughed at myself when I remembered I was in a virtual world. I even did this in my second VR experience, although I knew what to expect, shimmying across narrow bridges that lacked handrails and testing thresholds before walking through a doorway.
Upon the first mission, I learned we needed to interact a lot more than I thought would be required of a virtual experience in isolated rooms. This is what separates Virtual Room’s VR experience from others. In my experience at The Void, another VR experience, I felt that my actions didn’t really impact the environment or the storyline. No matter what, it seemed I would win. What? Why would she complain about winning? Well trying that experience after the Virtual Room’s team-based adventure made me realize I missed the collaborative essence of escape rooms and the ability to affect my environment and the means to my victory. The Void’s Star Wars story certainly provided an amazing spectacle, but I enjoy engaging with my team and working towards a common goal. The experiences at Virtual Room that are coming soon to Red Door encourage and challenge you to collaborate with your teammates just like our classic escape room episodes do. Discovered treasures, tactics, and passwords need to be shared in order to move forward to new realms. For me, this made me feel a greater sense of urgency and purpose in the game.
After my family and I finished our VR experience, we talked about it all night over dinner and for weeks after. And now I’m so excited that we can share this amazing and unique experience with you here. I hope my personal account gave you more info about what to expect in VR so that, if you’re thinking of booking an experience today, you’d see exactly why you need to try this new feature at Red Door. You can learn even more about VR on any participating location’s “Episodes” drop-down menu!