There is now a new business in Centerra’s walking shops, where the community can move from the physical to the virtual world.
VR Arcade USA opened its location in Loveland a few months ago, offering local residents or just those passing by the mall the opportunity to enjoy some virtual reality.
Whether in groups or alone, customers can play various virtual reality games; with multiple headphones and even two virtual reality slot machines, the arcade offers multiple gaming experiences. Through wireless headphones and controllers, players and spectators can experience a game or piece of material as if they were physically there.
Owner John Iverson said he got the idea for the arcade after opening a coworking space in Fort Collins, where he settled after running a production company after graduating from the Denver Art Institute. . Iverson said one of his space clients was working on a virtual reality project and decided to see what the technology consisted of.
“When I tried it, I was impressed,” he said. “I decided to do it all because I saw the potential.”
He said that while creating some virtual reality video projects for the Denver and New Belgium Broncos, among other clients, he found great potential in the idea of opening an arcade room so that people could understand the virtual reality.
“That’s what inspired this,” he said, “I saw the need for people to try it.”
Finally, Iverson opened the first VR Arcade USA in Denver and finally another venue in Grand Junction. He said, when he was looking to open another place, he initially had his eyes set on Estes Park. However, when he found the place open in Loveland, he saw it as a nice place for people passing through northern Colorado.
“It seems like a good route,” he said.
Since opening, the Loveland store has seen a strong flow of customers, he said, but word of mouth is needed to keep growing. He said that while many ask for time to set aside time to come and play some games, a large number of customers stumble upon the arcade enclosure and participate in a number of virtual laser tag games.
On Monday afternoon, Greeley residents Chase Montoya and her nine-year-old son Conor were two of those customers. Chase Montoya said that while his wife and daughters were walking through the shops, he and his son showed up to see what it was all about.
After a few rounds of a virtual snowball fight, the two were impressed with the overall experience.
“It was a lot of fun,” Chase Montoya said.
“I loved it,” said Conor Montoya, barely able to stand still with excited anticipation as he waited to play a virtual game alone. “The best game in history.”
Iverson said the arcade enclosure will help people get used to using virtual reality through games so they can prepare for other types of media through virtual reality. He said the arcade plans for people to experience things like workouts, movies and dating nights at some point.
“Everyone comes out of here happy,” he said. “Skeptics are usually the most impressed.”
Iverson said he has seen even senior players leave with a smile.
“There is something for everyone,” he added.
The location of the games room, 6055 Sky Pond Drive, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. More information can be found at vrarcadeusa.com.