Grab a pair of goggles and enter different worlds with the Valley’s virtual reality experiences.

The Eyes Have It

Written by Jamie Fossenkemper Category: Lifestyle Issue: August 2017
Group Free

While virtual reality has been a concept since the dawn of science fiction, in the last few years the technology has finally – and awesomely – caught up with our imaginations. Virtual reality gear is now functional and affordable enough that hardcore enthusiasts can invest in home VR systems. For the rest of us, the Valley has two unique virtual reality experiences that even non-nerds will love.

Octane Raceway’s Virtual Reality Arena 
The Scottsdale kart-racing facility recently opened Velocity VR, the fourth virtual reality arena in the United States and the first free-roam virtual gaming arena in the western U.S. Its debut game, Zombie Survival, puts teams of six in a virtual reality where zombies run amok and the remaining humans (the players) must band together to keep the peace and fight the undead. The total mission is 45 minutes long, with a 15-minute briefing and two 15-minute games, for $40 per person. Octane recommends the game only for players age 13 or older, since the experience is lifelike and can be intense. Parental supervision is also recommended. Get your team together, strap on a backpack, choose a weapon, and grab VR headphones and goggles to live out your own episode of The Walking Dead in the safety of an indoor arena.    
9119 E. Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
602-302-7223, octaneraceway.com
VR Junkies
The virtual reality isn’t quite as immersive at Tempe storefront/arcade VR Junkies, but its plethora of options and diverse price points makes it a draw for the VR addicts who inspired its name. The arcade’s games range from simple, phone-based headset experiences to full-body-motion systems. More than 10 games keep players coming back, including video-game-themed Super Pixel Smash, Star Wars-esque Lightblade VR, Space Pirate Trainer, Cyberpong VR, survival shooter game The Brookhaven Experiment and Cowboys and Aliens. Because it’s also a retail shop, you can buy equipment to set up your own virtual reality dome at home.
414 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
480-458-8033, vrjunkies.com