Location-based interactive entertainment isn’t a new thing, but it’s going through something of a resurgence today as VR game centres start to truly take off. As well as turning a whole generation of people onto VR gaming, this is revealing the social side of venue-supported gaming once again, as well as all the benefits it has to offer.
Similar to how laser tag came into arcades and theme parks around the world in the 80s and 90s, a new industry has been slowly emerging and is set to become a favourite for groups of friends and families around the world. Built on the back of some tremendous advancements in VR gear and systems, wireless free-roaming virtual reality parks now open up their offerings to anyone daring enough to give it a go.
So, whether it’s the “the next laser tag” or simply a new breed of gaming entirely, there’s no denying the appeal of VR game parks and their mass appeal for those who want to game AND be social at the same time.
Expanding VR Experiences
Using a shared physical space means individual headsets need to share a common play area and need to be aware of each other’s location in real-time. This just isn’t possible in your average person’s home.
When it comes to playing VR games with others, the best option today is visiting a virtual reality game park with an arena scale venue that allows games to be played exactly as they were designed, with limitless free-roaming potential and unbounded exploration opportunities for up to eight players.
While games like paintball or laser tag are still popular today, in a digital age where game developers are releasing new titles with increasingly amazing narratives and gameplay potential, VR centres are set to become the new team-based multiplayer activity — offering unrivalled thrill and enjoyment when you compare it to anything else on the market today.
Team Building Like Never Before!
While the appeal of VR gaming in an arena scale venue might stem from getting one over on your friends or workmates, or showing others that your shooting skills are superior, a day of VR gaming will show you how important communication and teamwork really is.
In short, it draws on your social skills and helps to strengthen bonds between those you must rely on to make it through the night as you fight off zombie hordes. Imagine being loaded up with a rifle, headset and backpack in a decayed apocalyptic street as you face down endless waves of infected zombies. It’s only natural that you’ll reach out to your partners for support and encouragement as you help each other survive.
In these virtual realities, decisions need to be made on the fly about whom to trust, whom to reject, and how to most effectively lead a group. Players must make snap social judgments while playing if they hope to do well.
Even for less action-packed titles, collaboration and sharing is all part of the experience at virtual reality parks, which we feel is something that people have always craved from gaming. In these immersive social contexts, gamers can experience extreme excitement and terror, but more importantly, they can share this with others and come away with stories to tell and a unique collective experience.
Tips for Leading Your Team to Victory
Are you hoping to lead your team to victory in your next visit to a VR game centre? In VR gaming, you’ll learn quickly that being a leader is more about supporting others than just showing them that you’re in charge.
Based on our experience at Arena Games witnessing hundreds of groups take on our challenges, we’ve outlined a few tips for good leadership.
Guide Don’t Order
Good leadership is about being the first among equals. You need to be someone that your team trusts and this starts with guiding your team, not ordering them around. Next time you enter a VR map, remember to not be an “alpha”, but to recognize people’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage people to be their best selves.
For example, if you’re playing Singularity and someone seems more confident and effective not moving around so much, suggest that they take a tower position and use their strength as a sharpshooter to protect the team.
Rather than pointing out someone’s shortcomings, it’s much better to look for the skills that people can bring to the table and encourage them to take on certain positions or roles.
Express Courage When the Opportunity Arises
Don’t be afraid to take risks – even if you’re afraid you might get something wrong. If there’s a particularly difficult task that needs to be done in Engineerium or other puzzle-based titles, offer to take the lead on behalf of others. They’ll see this and understand your willingness to take on responsibility for the greater good.
Assuming you’re not all yelling at each other out of excitement and fear (completely normal during first visits) do your best to listen to what people are saying. You all share the same world but can focus on different aspects of the challenge or physical landscape.
For example, spread out and take advantage of multiple vantage points as you protect yourself from attackers in Zombie Survival. If someone is particularly swamped, back them up!
In challenge-based games, each person on your team will be able to provide input that can support the collective mission. The worst thing you can do as a leader is to ignore your fellow teammates and power through alone.
Enjoy Failing Together
Failing together is better than winning alone. Even if you’re playing with newbies and you’ve already logged several days of game time, try to understand that complaining or going off solo is a fool’s move. It’s much better to be patient with your team and work at the pace of the newest members.
After all, you are not in there to win just a single game anyway. If you’re coming back (which we bet you will) building a good foundation of cooperation and patience with other players will lead to greater results in the long run.
Also, if you’re in a game like Mission Maybee and need to replay the same basic tasks you’ve already mastered in previous attempts, take the opportunity to take in the amazing in-game artwork that’s all around you. It’s easy to rush through the game and not fully take in the incredible detail that goes into game design. Immersive VR games offer so much more than just the chance to win.
Ready to Put Your Squad to the Test?
If you’re keen to see how you and your team fares as you take on some of the most explosive and immersive challenges that exist today, sign your team up for a session at Arena Games’ virtual reality park. And if you’re worried about never having played VR before… stop right there. As long as you work together as a team and listen to all our pre-game instructions, there’s no reason you can’t crush your first visit to a VR game park.