This week, I was given a preview of the newest attraction at the Sydney Royal Easter Show – VR Land, a virtual reality experience with a host of different and exciting games. The set up at the Easter Show features several double-cabin egg pods, as well as single or three-person pods, and smaller game-based machines for children. Each pod uses a virtual reality headset, hydraulic system and surround sound to flesh out the VR experience, creating a wonderfully realistic atmosphere.
This was my first time experiencing VR, and I had a lot of fun with the machines. The experiences that were shown included a trip through a fridge, an exploration of space, a rollercoaster ride, a game of VR Fruit Ninja, and an interactive skiing trip through a snowy landscape. The rollercoaster simulation in particular had me gripping the controllers of the pod tight, as the movement of the hydraulics created such a realistic and genuinely thrilling atmosphere. Several times I had to resist the urge to let out a squeak, as the feeling of weightlessness generated by the pod had me feeling quite breathless.
While the fridge exploration and the rollercoaster ride were both quite thrilling, my absolute favourite experience was the trip through space. Taking part in this adventure, you find yourself in a space pod travelling through the solar system. The pod takes you past Earth, through an asteroid belt, to the surface of Mars and beyond. The simulation is brilliant, with the 360-degree view allowing you to look into the far reaches of space, all while a narrator informs you about what you’re seeing. The hydraulics of the pods worked brilliantly in tandem with the visuals to create a truly breathtaking experience. Highlights included the appearance of the lunar module Eagle on the moon, and the pod shooting through a hole in the asteroid belt that had me gritting my teeth as we passed through.
I was also able to experience the fun of the children’s VR machines, which included a variety of brilliant games like the aforementioned Fruit Ninja, a basketball game, and the skiing game among others. Fruit Ninja proved to be an enjoyable challenge, and required the use of the VR headset to shoot fruit out of the air. I’d like to say that my reflexes were finely honed, but more often than not, I ended up missing half the fruit and accidentally shooting the red herring bomb in the game. Even so, I had a huge amount of fun with the games, particularly the skiing experience, which saw me crash and burn not even half way down the mountain.
With over 25 virtual reality experiences to choose from, including blockbuster franchise games like the Minecraft rollercoaster, and the challenging Fruit Ninja, there’s a huge range of games and journeys to experience. Some games last as little as 2.5 minutes, while others, like the brilliant space journey, lasted closer to the 10-minute mark. For those who don’t know what the best experience or game to play is, E2 Media’s friendly staff will be on hand to provide you with their own choices and recommendations.
VR Land is available at the Easter Show from today up until the 19th April. For more information about the pods and what else to do at the show, check out the Royal Easter Show website!