Anyone who’s ever seen Minority Report knows the coolest part of the entire movie: the VR Room. A futuristic “arcade” where users can experience almost anything they want -- from winning an Oscar to carrying out a murder -- Virtual Reality, or “VR,” is the ultimate form of entertainment...and it’s finally here. Escape Virtuality, an entertainment complex on West 29th Street, is an entire space dedicated exclusively to providing the most incredible interactive experiences in all of New York City.
The first thing you’ll probably notice when entering Escape Virtuality is the giant rock climbing wall. At first glance, it might seem pretty easy -- maybe what, nine feet high? But there’s a catch: the wall is actually a screen, and guests can choose various challenges that will limit where and how they will climb -- meaning at one point, you will be stuck seven feet in the air, listening to people chant your name, and wondering how and earth you are going to squeeze yourself between the virtual barriers without falling on your face. But don’t worry! There’s a mat to catch you if you slip up, and it’s as comfy as can be -- which I can confirm for you myself.
If the rock wall is a little out of your reach, though, there are plenty more activities to choose from. Although I never would have expected it, one of my favorite experiences was a multiplayer shooter game that consisted solely of me running around (virtually) and shooting at another person. It seemed so simple, but something about the 360 view and being locked into a machine made everything seem amazingly real. But if you’re really looking for “realness,” I suggest the XTREMATIC, a “virtual reality simulator extreme machine,” where you can experience “extreme” scenarios such as white water rafting, flying, and my personal favorite -- bungee jumping. You can go in skeptical, but I promise the lurch you feel when the bungee cord springs and you launch into the air is as real as they come.
In addition to augmented reality and virtual reality games, Escape Virtuality has a number of Escape Rooms located on their upper floor. Unfortunately, the rooms were closed on the day I visited, but with puzzles that include a motion stimulated runaway train, a goblin quest, and a mysterious ghost collector… I guess I just have no choice but to go back.