If you can’t have a room with a view this weekend, get a room with a crew instead. Specifically a crew made up of Ninad and Kay, two game masters who will strap you with backpacks, virtual reality glasses and guns, and help you forsake real life for new worlds that are trippy and trying, but not without a thorough training first. “No drugs or alcohol before playing, no jumping during…” Yes, it’s the three things you love most, but we promise this will still be fun. Ready?
Let’s go to Zero Latency, a free roam virtual reality gaming center, new at Todi Mills and already existing in 18 countries across 4 continents. Before you visit, get on zerolatencyvr.in (warning: it’s quite buggy) to choose from a handful of games and book a 30 or 45 minute slot, of which the first 15 minutes are reserved for orientation and suiting up – full marks for cleanliness and hygiene - when you arrive.
Once rules, niceties and a few practiced jokes are out of the way, you and your group (up to eight people) are led inside a 1,900 square feet arena; put your goggles on, it’s go time. The bpb office crew first tried Zombie Survival, which has the full story in its name. You hold down a fort full of blood-thirsty zombies (by shooting at them) until the rescue crew arrives. Zombie Survival is a reminder of many things: that you’ve forgotten how to be vigilant; that you’d rather score points than have your friends’ backs; that you really, really need to start working out (those guns are heavy!).
It’s danger, choreographed; it’s sensational, menacing and disorienting, all of which is great fun for 15 minutes. At 30 minutes, it’s a bit dizzying. In real life, probably ruinous.
There are headsets that allow you to speak to team mates during your time in the arena, and game masters are constantly watching, cheering you on, and offering to take photos and videos from your phone - postcards from a different world.
Do you feel nauseous during or after? Our friend who played while hungover says YES. We say no, until we play Engineerium, a non-shooting immersive walking game made up of steep slopes, twisted paths, crystal waterfalls and vertiginous drops. This one’s a good one-time experience, but we would have liked it to be a little more interactive, like if the frogs, stingrays and whales that float around, had some purpose. We’re told the purpose of the game is for the player to be observant not occupied, curious not competitive.
A deep lesson for real life, until you get home and find that Zero Latency has emailed you your game scores and details on how you just missed being featured on their leader board.
Getting there: Zero Latency, unit no 1, Todi Mills, next to Zeba, Lower Parel, call 09324095968, visit zerolatencyvr.in to book, start at Rs 899 for a 30 minute slot.
bpb paid for its own games.
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