The Pulse VR-X Centre had a visit from BBC Radio Derby’s, Jonathan Baker to learn all about virtual reality gaming and the benefits of wireless play. Listen to the radio broadcast below:
Ian Skye: There’s a new arcade in Derby and when I say arcade, this will date you won’t it? If you’re a similar kind of ball park figure to me then you’re immediately thinking, I dunno, asteroids, pacman, maybe you’re more of a vintage and thinking pinball machines. You say arcade, just what do you picture? Tells you how old you are doesn’t it?
Actually, if you do like the old video arcades, like 1980s style video games, arcade machines, if you ever get the chance to go to the National Media Museum, I think it’s changed it’s name, up in Bradford. They’ve got a whole floor of those things, you can go and play on Donkey Kong and all sorts, it’s amazing. Anyway, this one in Derby, this is very 21st Century, it’s a virtual arcade. See you put special goggles on and you are transported to a different world. It’s the first arcade in the WHOLE COUNTRY that has no wires, nothing to trip over when you get a bit carried away exploring your new exciting virtual world.
Danny Gregory is the Managing Director at Pulse Virtual Reality it’s called.
Danny Gregory: We’ve got kids games, from carnival games, snowball fighting and then they range up to adult games where we’ve got full horror experiences being in a pitch black field for instance with zombies coming at you from all angles and monsters. And then we’ve got everything in the middle as well, so action games, gladiator fighting. Sports games as well like boxing.
Jonathan Baker: Danny’s got the headset on now with two controls and he’s in the boxing ring. His guard’s up. I can see the boxer that Danny’s fighting on the 2D screen but with Danny’s headset on, he will think he’s in an actual ring and he can move around, see 360 degrees. It feels like you’re there. But when you’re watching and you’ve not got the headset on it really does look humorous because they’re is a person just making silly movements they wouldn’t usually make, to try and beat an invisible object. And he’s done it.
Ian Skye: I think, most of it sounds fun, doesn’t it? Standing in a pitch black field fighting off zombies from every angle, maybe not the top of my wish list. But yeah, Jonathan Baker there, catching up to Danny Gregory. Jonno did have a go himself.
There’s a new arcade on Green Lane, in Derby. When I say arcade, this is all very state of the art. Not space invaders, pacman, donkey kong. This is virtual reality. You can go and fight off zombies in the pitch black or be a gladiator. This is the first place actually in the whole of the UK that do this without any wires. Jonathan Baker has been there. It’s called Pulse Virtual Reality, first of all talking to one of the Managing Directors, Danny Gregory.
Danny Gregory: We’re the first wireless virtual reality arcade in the UK, so there’s nothing to hold you back, nothing wrapping around your legs.
Jonathan Baker: Nothing to stop you walking into a wall ‘cos you get so engrossed?
Danny Gregory: Exactly.
Jonathan Baker: There’s a video of Ronnie O’Sullivan, the snooker player, playing virtual reality and he falls over.
Danny Gregory: Yep, so we’ve played one ourselves and yes, it is very tempting to lean on the table, realise there’s nothing there…too late.
Jonathan Baker: Who does this sort of thing appeal to?
Danny Gregory: We’ve got kids games, from carnival games, snowball fighting and then they range up to adult games where we’ve got full horror experiences being in a pitch black field for instance with zombies coming at you from all angles.
Jonathan Baker: You’re selling it to me here, Danny.
Danny Gregory: And they jump scare you if you don’t play their game properly. And then we’ve got everything in the middle as well, so action games, gladiator fighting.
Jonathan Baker: They’ll be people listening to this, who are in their 50s and 60s, who grew up with arcades meaning something completely different, so things like slot machines and pinball. Do you think they’d invest in this?
Danny Gregory: I’ve had good reactions from older generations who want to pick up on new technology as it develops. Yes, it does take a little bit longer to grasp some of the controls and the immersion, it can be a little overwhelming at times. But what virtual reality has done is sort of re-invent old games as well. One of the first games that came out was Space Pirate Trainer and it’s a reinvention of the game Galaga. These robots will fly around in like a pattern, and you’ve got your laser guns to shoot them down.[Laser gun blasts firing]
Jonathan Baker: So I’ve got this helmet on at the moment. I can hear Danny talking in front of me but I can’t see him. It’s quite unnerving, I don’t know where I am. Now there’s lights in my eyes. I’ve got a control in my hand like a gun, if I shot it would I shoot you? [Laser gun firing] BANG BANG!!![Laser gun blasts firing] Oop laser, I’ve been shot again. Oh blooming heck! Oh dear me.
There’s a clown and a woman without a head. [Door knocking, “Hello, your pizza’s here”] Hello, that’s not pizza, that’s a haunted doll. Oh lights are going off. *Screams* Oh no, oh no, oh dear that doll got me good and proper.
People who go to arcade will understand what I’m in here because this is a driving simulator more or less but obviously it’s in virtual reality, unlike the ones you see in the amusements.
Oooh oh dear me, it feel like I’m actually moving at great speed. Oh no I’ve crashed. Right, I forgot I had a brake peddle, that’ll help.
Danny, what is the future for virtual reality? Because just for example, there was a phase, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 3D television which came and it was like, oh brilliant, but it seems to have died to death.
Danny Gregory: I think with the investments being made this is just the start. Gaming is just a small application of it. There are various industries that have taken onboard virtual reality to further expand their businesses. Just basically, things that you cannot do in the real world, there are limitless applications to what you can do in the virtual.
Ian Skye: It does sound a lot of fun doesn’t it? Although, remind me never to get a lift home with Jonathan Baker. Danny Gregory is the MD there at Pulse Virtual Reality. It’s on Green Lane in Derby.