Brighton Destroys London in First Ever Inter-Pub VR Tournament

By James O Malley on at

I have a confession to make, dear readers. Last Thursday, I let down not just me and my friends, but all of London by proxy.

You see, when the folks at The VR Concept invited me to come and participate in what they claimed was the world's first ever inter-pub VR tournament, I eagerly signed up as it sounded like a fun evening (and indeed, it was). The problem? I forgot that I wouldn't just be representing myself, but also my city.

The company, who I profiled last year, is working hard to take pub entertainment beyond the quiz and the pool table, and expand it to be something a little more hi-tech. It has now expanded its VR offering into four pubs where punters can pay a few quid to escape the pains of real life in a world that isn't quite real. So it is basically building on a trail that was blazed by alcohol.

The tournament was an ambitious event for the company: they wanted to pitch us, the patrons of Lost Rivers Elephant, in the newly gentrified bit of Elephant & Castle, against patrons of The World's End in Brighton. The game? We'd be facing off in Skyfront VR Tournament, which is essentially a simplified First Person Shooter which takes place not just in two dimensions, but in three.

The game took place over five rounds - with four players from each pub going up against each other in each match, which lasted around ten minutes. I was up in the first game.

It's quite a weird experience playing in 360 degrees, though the game makes it surprisingly straightforward. Essentially, your right controller is your gun - you pull the trigger, it shoots. The left controller is used for movement, and you point in the direction you want to go, and you'll drift in that direction.

I quickly realised the most effective strategy was a lot like my Far Cry 5 combat strategy: get the target in my crosshairs, and fire rapidly, while charging towards them. It was moderately effective, and I got a few kills - but sadly it wasn't enough. And Brighton won the game, after somehow figuring out how to shoot rockets. I had failed my pub and my city.

Worse still, the bad luck for London continued: Brighton completely obliterated us in the first three rounds. It was only in the last two that we clawed it back to something respectable, and avoided complete humiliation.

However, though we might have been able to leave with our heads held moderately high there was a big problem: We didn't win. So the pub didn't win the collective prize: A happy hour on drinks. And for that, I was partially responsible for London's devastating loss in the first ever inter-pub VR tournament.

So sorry London. Sorry District Line. Sorry red buses. Sorry human Yoda statues outside the National Gallery. I have let you down.