If you've been to Japan, or paid attention to the state of VR in the country, you'll know that the virtual reality arcade is a thing that exists - a thing with a pretty self-explanatory purpose. Now two of those VR-cades are coming to the UK, courtesy of games publisher Bandai Namco.
The two VR Zones Portals have opened up inside the Hollywood Bowl in London's O2 Arena and Tunbridge Wells, Kent, with promises that more are on the way. Unfortunately both sites are only pop-ups, rather than permanent installations, which means they won't be around forever. We don't really know how long they'll be here for, but that can't stop us from enjoying them while we can.
There are two games available to play in the London arcade, Hospital Escape Terror, and Argyle Shift, each costing £8 and £5 respectively a go. Alternatively you can pay £12 and play both. While you do have to book your place at the reception desk, rather than hanging around a booth hoping someone gets tired of wearing a headset, there are regular coin-operated machines available to pass the time.
Both games are English translations of the original Japanese release, and run using HTC's Vive headset. Hospital Escape Terror is a horror game (obviously) where you take on the role of a wheelchair-bound test subject forced to navigate an abandoned hospital filled with dead bodies, traps, and various baddies. Argyle Shift is an anime-style mech game that lets two players control each control their own networked cockpit to pilot a giant robot mech - Pacific Rim style.
The Tunbridge Wells location also seems to include tightrope simulator The Big Fear of Heights Experience. According to The OP the prices are static, with the option of playing one game for £5, two for £9, or all three for £14.
These are far from the first VR experiences people in the UK can go and pay to enjoy, but with Namco Bandai promising the expand it means that there will be new locations popping up across the country. The VR-gaming experience I can recall all seem to have opened in one location and stayed there, which is a bit unhelpful for people who don't live in the surrounding area. Hopefully expansions across the UK will also come bundled with some of the other VR games available in the Japanese arcades. Mario Kart comes to mind. [VRFocus | The OP]