Virtual reality arcade opens doors

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THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay’s first virtual reality arcade opened its doors Sunday, promising visitors an out-of-this-world experience.

Thunder VR, located at the north end of the Intercity Shopping Centre in the old West 49 location, boasts eight 10’ by 10’ stations for solo or multi-player use where players, armed with headsets and controllers, can explore virtual worlds in three dimensions.

Owner Ken Jones, who also operates local business Fun-Tastic Castles, said he was inspired to launch the project after a wintertime trip to Toronto. He knew relatively little about virtual reality before a friend invited him to check out an arcade there, but quickly got hooked on games like Elven Assassin (“You shoot orcs, giants, and dragons,” he explained).

“Afterwards we were all so excited, we had a great time,” he related. “I thought, Thunder Bay doesn’t have something like this.”

While many VR games replicate classic video game formats like first-person shooter, the technology also opens up a broader realm of possibilities, like virtually exploring art galleries or museums. Others allow users to virtually work out or create art, while kid-friendly games focused on adventure and exploration.

The arcade initially offered 25 different games, but Jones said hundreds more could be …

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