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The NextReality of Virtual Laser Tag

This may not be a traditional laser tag experience, but it is an incredible VR simulation! Circling back to my trip to Indiana, I had a chance to visit NextReality Studios VRCade and Innovation Center in Goshen, IN where I had a completely different “laser tag” experience while trying out three different VR platforms that each simulate laser tag in very realistic, but distinctively different ways.

I have had very limited experience with virtual reality up to this point, but I was thoroughly impressed with each of the games I played during this visit. They all had elements of laser tag incorporated with a distinctively unique approach for each one.

When I arrived I was greeted by owners Damon and Crystal Miles who showed me around their game center, starting with a mid-size room where a group of young players were ready to join me for for a game of Hero Zone’s Quantum Arena.

Hero Zone VR games are mostly mission-style where a team enters the game working together to solve a problem or achieve a common goal, but Quantum Arena is played a bit differently. It is team vs team in a laser tag simulation that not only includes competition against other players, but also dodging obstacles like a rolling rock and walls that pop up to change the space you perceive around you throughout the game.

In this room the game is projected onto a screen against the far wall so that observers can watch what is taking place as well.

It looked like we were maneuvering around a stone maze. I enjoyed this very much and was really impressed with the graphics and the way elements of the game interacted with the players, adding an additional dimension.

Notice the tape on the floor, which is functional for helping the system to track player locations within the space.

NextReality is a beta-testing site for Hero Zone and one of only a select handful of VR locations that had the Quantum Arena game available as of the time I tried it out. I always love to get the scoop on something new!

Next we moved into a larger warehouse space with a free-roaming VR tag called Versus.

This was a bit more similar to a traditional laser tag with a glowing neon appearance inside the headset and a two team red/blue split virtual arena.

Definitely a realistic experience! The colorful headsets are the second generation of the wireless Oculus Quest model they opt for here.

My final VR experience was a solo game called Pistol Whip using Mission X.

This was just a sample of what the platform can do and I would describe this game as being like Guitar Hero with “guns”. I liked it because it incorporated using music, beats and rhythm to target computer-based adversaries.

Damon explained to me the way the feedback vest works, sending vibration to specific parts of the vest so you get the sensation of being hit in a specific place by elements that target you during the game.

After I sampled a game on each of the platforms I discussed them with Damon, who gave me a wealth of insight about each of the VR games they utilize at NextReality Studios. Here is our interview and some video of my game experiences during this visit.

I want to thank Damon and Crystal for their hospitality to me and for the awesome souvenir I took home!

If you love laser tag this game center is definitely worth checking out! I would love to play more virtual reality laser tag and am so glad I had a chance to compare a few different styles while paying a visit to NextReality Studios. This was quite an experience and an education!

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