Video game arcades may have a nostalgic hold over us (shoutout to our childhoods spent in Timezone), but let’s be real. The pull of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences are a lot more immersive and exhilarating, teleporting users into the middle of all that action. With VR, you get to roam around an entirely new world, which may or may not be overrun with creatures like zombies, ghosts, or monsters. Meanwhile, AR lets you interact with digital landscapes and objects built on top of real-life ones.
To get started on your otherworldly adventures (and perhaps work up a bit of a sweat), check out these five attractions below.
Short for “hadoken,” Street Fighter’s iconic special attack, Hado Singapore’s trademark is augmented sports with three game varieties: Hado Dodgeball, where players battle one another, Hado Monster Battle, with dragons to defeat, and Hado Shoot, an all-ages friendly session that pits your fireballs against poisonous mushrooms and other creatures.
You can try all three on your visit, or choose whichever calls out to you. Don your gear – AR goggles (basically a phone fastened on a headset) and a forearm motion sensor – to aid you in your mission to slay.
#02-15 *Scape, 2 Orchard Link. 6634-4668. Daily noon-9pm.
Opened late last year, this Resorts World Sentosa “theme park” houses 11 attractions over three zones of different thrill levels. To ease you into the VR experience, the green zone offers a room full of sports like baseball and fencing, plus a Robin Hood archery game and a Zombie Busters adventure.
If you’d like to up your adrenaline level, venture into a Horror Room at the orange zone, where you’ll be forced to flee from a haunted house in the Amazon forest. Alternatively, squeamish guests can board the Extreme Train for a ride to a treasure island in the skies or put on your wetsuits for Jungle Rafting in a land dominated by a T-Rex. For the bravest of us, the blue zone is where you can challenge yourself by making your way through a raging blizzard on a dog sled or leaping your way across the jungle, a la Tarzan.
Waterfront at Resorts World Sentosa. 6963-4609. Daily 10am-8pm.
Branching out to Singapore after outlets in Los Angeles, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, Sandbox VR takes over a space at Orchard Central for its team-based games that last for about half an hour (although you need to factor in time for setup and debriefing). All the action takes place in a green room stocked with heavy duty gear that includes a haptic vest, a weapon, a VR headset, and headphones embedded with a microphone. It is a pretty cool sight to see your teammates all decked out and ready for war.
To dive right in, sign up for Deadwood Mansion, the creepiest experience of the three. As you tiptoe around the place, you can actually feel the touch of the undead, which could possibly make you question everything about the world as you know it. If you’ve always had swashbuckling dreams, the Curse of Davy Jones is where you can live out your plundering pirate fantasies. Otherwise, step into a cyberpunk cityscape set in New Hong Kong for Amber Sky 2088 and defend your home turf to the death.
#05-31 Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Rd. 9832-5988. Mon-Thurs 1pm-10:15pm, Fri 11:30am-midnight, Sat 10:30am-midnight, Sun 10:30am-10:30pm.
The entire basement of Lucky Chinatown is home to Virtual Room’s sprawling premises, which includes 22 game rooms chock full of cool gear. Each experience lasts about 40 to 50 minutes, and once you’ve got your headset and two controllers, you’re ready to roll.
Your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to solve puzzles and complete tasks as you travel back to the past in time periods like ancient Egypt and scenes such as the moon landing. Just like any other dramatic challenge, the fate of the world lies in your hands. Although, more often than not, you may be too preoccupied with marveling at the new world before your eyes to focus on actually breaking out of the virtual escape room.
B3, Lucky Chinatown, 211 New Bridge Rd. 6966-8060.
Touted as the largest VR gaming arena in the country, this free-roaming multi-player experience from Australia gives you the full experience with custom-made simulated weapons, a headset with 2K resolution, a backpack containing a high-performance gaming computer, and microphone-equipped headphones.
Pick from a selection of five games, including Sol Raiders, where you’ll join the last survivors of humanity traversing the universe on the hunt for new worlds, and Outbreak Origins, which puts you in the thick of the action to defend the city against swarms of zombies.
If you’ve always dreamed of going to space (but perhaps watched Gravity one too many times), Singularity safely transports you to a space station that’s unfortunately overrun by killer drones and robots. For something a little more light-hearted, enter the world of Engineerium and frolic across a fantastical alien realm full of flying whales and parrot rays.
#03-346 Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Blvd. 6931-0331. Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-10pm.