VR vs ER: What is a Virtual Reality Experience?
Red Door is at the cutting edge of all escape room entertainment. We keep things fresh. So what’s new?
Two words: virtual reality.
The word “virtual” often carries some negative connotations in the space of building interpersonal skills. We often view technology as a barrier to true relationships. People go out with friends but stare at their phones the entire time instead of having a real conversation. Social gatherings transform into a mere stage to set up the perfect social media post. Rest assured, Red Door would never allow anything to deter us from our mission to deepen relationships through creative entertainment; and that’s exactly what a virtual reality experience will do.
VR demonstrates that you can connect technology with the purpose of deepening relationships. In some ways, VR experiences accomplish our mission similar to the way our existing escape rooms do. But it takes a very unique approach. Let’s take a look at some key differences and similarities between virtual reality and escape rooms.
Simulated Setting vs Real-Life Setting
Maybe the most apparent difference between VR and ER is the setting. Red Door shows that lots of thought and time go into creating the sets of our escape rooms. Designers and contractors develop the most realistic environments that help suspend your disbelief. With tangible props, how can it get more real than that? How can a virtual setting compare? You have to try it to believe how real it feels.
In my first VR experience, I was standing on a tiny platform, terrified I might fall off. A virtual cliff. Into a virtual abyss. Looking back, it seems silly. My shuffling feet probably looked silly too. The point is that a simulated setting can appear just as real as a live setting. There’s great depth of detail in the design and are no limitations to what can appear around you. In fact, just one episode can transport you to dozens of places across the universe and multiple periods across time!
Virtual Interaction vs Face-to-Face Interaction
Our escape rooms ask you to leave your cell phones behind as you enter the story. This encourages you and other players to communicate in person and in the moment. Escape rooms can actually help you learn how to communicate more clearly and effectively. In a virtual reality experience, you’ll still communicate, and we’ll talk about that later, but it’ll be by your headsets. Yes, you won’t actually be able to see the other players. See those goggles in the header image? You’ll listen to your teammates through those. Although you can’t see other players as they normally appear, you’ll get to interact with their virtual avatars! It’s like diving into a video game where you and your friends are the main characters! You can still hand them virtual treasures and toss them virtual clues. Or if you’re a bit of a prankster you can throw other virtual objects at them when they’re not looking. Hey, no one gets hurt, so no one gets in trouble.
We already know how immersive escape rooms are with their intricate storylines and life-like environments. Virtual realities are just as immersive. With noise-canceling headsets and peripheral-blocking goggles, you'll have no choice but to watch the virtual scene displayed in front of your eyes. Just like escape rooms, a VR episode is built around an interesting plot and, with this technology, it really is like stepping into a movie. Also just like escape rooms, virtual reality engages as many of your senses as possible. Amazing surround sound pours out of your headset and startling haptics shake the remotes in your hands. I promise, it’s harder than you think to not feel anxious walking towards the edge of that virtual cliff.
Ah, our favorite word! Teamwork. Despite the usual connotations of isolation that revolve around virtual technology, there is really no way to win in a virtual reality experience without teamwork. Teamwork and communication are just as necessary in a virtual reality setting as they are in escape rooms. My first VR experience included me, my dad, and two of my uncles. We were all new to this. While I got the hang of the tech pretty quickly, my dad and uncle had been typing their names into the virtual computer for five minutes. This experience tested each of us because we were all learning how to navigate and maneuver the controls. But it also tested how well we communicated with each other. When one of us discovered something new or realized how to do something, it took some time to explain it to the others. But in the end, we finished and I think we did pretty well. And, most importantly, we finished before my sister, mom, and aunts (bragging rights). But there’s no way we could have gotten past the first room (just typing in our names) without great teamwork.
Last but certainly not least: joy. Just like an escape room, the joy in the experience comes from being in the virtual environment and building relationships. You may not realize it, but every time you play an escape room, you are growing closer to your family, friends, co-workers, teammates, etc. The same happens in a VR experience. All it takes is 60 minutes and you can deepen your relationship with at least one person. We hope that you get a chance to experience some joy with us at Red Door! You can book an escape room or virtual reality experience on our website. We promise you won’t be disappointed!