A NEW virtual reality gaming center will open this week in a former downtown warehouse, which will become the last leisure business to arrive in Bradford.
VR City is home to North Parade’s former Boyes store and allows people to play state-of-the-art virtual reality games.
The business, which opens on Friday, is no longer recognized from the department stores that closed when the Bradford branch moved to the Kirkgate Center in 2019.
The building has been split into smaller units and VR City looks as different as it can get from the old store, with images of cyberpunk and heavy metal surrealism on the walls.
There’s a row of 10 racing simulators that, when players wear VR helmets, offer a completely immersive experience of competing with some of the world’s most famous racetracks.
The seats and steering wheel even flicker to make you feel like you’re physically on a racetrack.
There are also several stands where players can play and play boxing to survival games, where zombies sell you from all directions.
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Hasan Khan and his brother Zeeshan are behind the business and were inspired by the leisure facilities that became popular in Japan and have recently opened in other cities in the UK.
They identified the Boyes unit, which is on the same street as some of the city’s most popular bars, as the perfect place for business. The Bradford Council approved what was probably the first planning request for a virtual reality center in its history, and work on VR City began.
The brothers hope the business can become a popular venue for bachelor and hen parties and corporate events, as well as for smaller groups and individuals.
Technology allows people to play alone or play against other players.
Hasan said, “It’s not a new technology, it’s an old technology, but it hadn’t really been used before. In the last four years it’s really come.
“It’s immersive, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a pretty expensive technology, so not everyone will be able to afford it to have it at home, probably 99% of people have never tried it. ”
While the old arcades had machines that had to be replaced if new games were brought in, any new game can only be hung on VR City units.
Khan said: You can access hundreds of games. It is truly a test of the future.
“Until recently the leisure sector in Bradford was not taken advantage of; if you wanted to do something like that, you had to go to Manchester or Leeds.”
He said the business was ideally located in North Parade, which has quickly become one of the district’s most popular nightlife venues and believes the business can add something new to the area’s nightlife economy.
It is the last leisure business to open in an empty unit in the city center. Crazy indoor golf business Loony Golf will soon open in another unit of the old Boyes, while Time Trapped Escape Room has opened in a Hustlergate building.
A former Leisure Exchange gym is now a Funzy inflatable park and a Ninja Warrior center is planned for an empty drive on Broadway.
VR City opens Friday. For more information, visit vrcity.co.uk