Sandbox VR allows you to fight zombies, alien insects, pirates

Sandbox VR opened shortly before the success of the pandemic and has now reopened completely. Located in the Mission Valley Mall, the virtual reality game center allows groups of up to six … read more →

Issued: July 7, 2021 | Transcript

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Sandbox VR opened shortly before the success of the pandemic and has now reopened completely. Located in the Mission Valley Mall, the virtual reality (VR) game facility allows groups of up to six players to fight zombies, alien insects or each other.

Evening edition

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Informed by Beth Accomando, video by Roland Lizarondo

Not all companies like to hear their customers call. But Sandbox VR does.

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“The cry is basically that our customers enjoy it to the fullest,” explained Jordan Ewing, manager of Sandbox VR in Mission Valley.

The sounds of children shouting and laughing filled the lobby, and when the group of boys emerged, they applauded the installation.

Sandbox, which launched in 2017 in Hong Kong, is a totally immersive virtual reality experience that offers five different virtual reality experiences: Amber Sky, Deadwood Mansion, Curse of Davy Jones, Star Trek and UFL, a fighting game.

Ewing said his personal preference was for Deadwood Mansion, but that “I’m warming up with Amber Sky, there’s something about the insects swarming me and having to shoot them, which really makes my blood pump.” .

I decided to take a group of friends to see the virtual reality experience. If you’re going to fight zombies, you definitely want to bring a bunch of friends. Personally, I can’t describe myself as a player. I’ve played a couple of Xbox games and done the Disneyland Star Wars VR experience, but I’ve been known to shoot my own teammates.

Our group considered Amber Sky’s alien insects, but opted for the Deadwood Mansion zombies. We christened ourselves as Team Romero (in honor of the father of the modern zombie movie) and prepared to fight the zombies with the help of Team Sandbox.

The first thing to do is check in at the lobby kiosk, where you can watch the trailers for the different games if you arrive undecided on what experience you want. Rates are $ 40 per player Monday through Thursday and go up a couple of dollars per player Friday through Sunday. Each game group can have up to six players and the experience lasts about an hour.

The Romero team adapts

After you sign up, you get fun-looking “trackers” that allow the game to see your moves. Two for the wrists and two for the ankles. You will be asked to choose the names of the team and players, so be prepared. I took the name Bub, in honor of the first self-conscious zombie of George A. Romero’s “Day of the Dead.” Then you enter the games room.

Ewing described the green screen room through which we entered where the game would take place.

“This is Room One. Each of these rooms looks exactly like a slightly different setup,” Ewing said. “We have the backpacks out there and the backpacks is what enhances the experience. And we also have the haptic vests, the haptic vest is what will allow you to feel that damage in the game. So if your friend shoots you or if the shooting a villain or a zombie is like hitting yourself and you in the face. That’s what you’ll feel. “

Initially, it feels like a lot of gear to put on, but you get used to it quickly.

Blanca Osorio puts her eyeglasses on Sandbox VR ...

Blanca Osorio was one of the screams of our group.

“We have to shoot zombies and rats, lots of rats. I screamed a lot. It even hurts my throat,” Osorio said.

Osorio killed more rats than zombies.

“I was the exterminator of the group because the rats scared me and came towards me and I was like no!” added.

Her husband, Jose Iturriaga, was also part of the Romero team.

“It’s crazy how you actually get into the feeling of terror and in fact you’re scared of the things that come your way,” Iturriaga said.

Vivianna Grondahl is an experienced player, but she usually only plays at home from a computer with a keyboard and mouse.

“This was my first fully immersive VR experience where I was able to play with other players and see other players,” Grondahl said. “And that part was so much better than a single VR experience, just being aware of your surroundings and your teammates and being able to heal each other. It was fun.”

Yes, we died a lot, but a touch on the shoulder could revive a player and there were many cries of “touch my shoulder”.

Gavin Bowles tried virtual reality games for the first time: “It was intense. It was very immersive. Very realistic and it made my heart beat.”

As a conceptual artist, Iturriaga appreciated the design of the game: “The environment is so well done that you feel like you’re in it.”

Grondahl agreed: “It was very immersive: the music, the sounds, the images, everything was perfect. It was very scary. It was a lot of fun. Very interactive. You’re equipped with a sensitive haptic vest, so when there’s there is something in touching or attacking you, you are feeling it. So it is completely immersive. “

“It’s great for you to get a 360 view,” Osorio added. “So it’s like you’re really in this place. I like the fact that zombies come out of different places, you have to stand all the time, like looking out. They come from the ceiling. It’s fun. We give you a gun, so you can shoot at things. “

Vivianna Grondahl prepares to fight zombies in Sandbox VR ...

Grondahl, like Osorio, opted for both weapons: “Because it reminded me of a‘ Final Fantasy ’character that I love and I thought I could have a little more blast radius if I had two hands to shoot with one. “

The game starts slow.

“But once you get started and they tell you everything and you do everything ready, the pace is really fast,” Bowles said.

“It starts out as a pretty manageable level,” Grondahl said. “And it quickly picks up pace. You start getting more enemies, different mechanics. So you have to figure out what’s going on around you and be aware of everything around you. So, it happens fast, it increases quickly.”

Sandbox VR: Video Team Romero

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Perhaps the best part of the experience was the video game that Sandbox provides.

“That video was so much fun because you’re equipped with all your gear and you see things that look pretty bad to you and then you look at yourself and you like it,” Grondahl said.

Sandbox VR: Video Selfie by Team Romero

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Iturriage, also known as Bats, was the team’s MVP.

“I was pleasantly surprised by this because I died a few times, but yes, I guess that shotgun turned out to be useful,” Iturriaga said.

Congratulations to Team Romero for fighting most of the zombies. For full disclosure, I called the rear with punctuation, but I amassed quite a few zombies.

Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando

Arts and Culture Reporter

opening quotesclosing quotesI cover the arts and culture, from comics to opera, from pop entertainment to fine arts, from zombies to Shakespeare. I’m interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; see how pop culture reflects social issues; and provide a context for art and entertainment.

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