If you remember Jamiroquai’s ’90s hit, “Virtual Insanity,” you get a cool card. But if you can recall the band’s funky music video, that’s even better: The video’s futuristic feel is similar to what you’d feel on a virtual reality (VR) experience. For a few minutes, you’re whisked off to another world, but it’s intense enough to shake up your entire day. We can dig it.
We hope you’re in town before the end of this month. Throughout the month of February, you can enjoy three different VR activities on the Strip. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, gamer with precise zombie shooting skills or want to try something new, you’re in for a treat. Hop on our VR Vegas ride and get ready for some serious futuristic play.
WHAT EXACTLY IS VIRTUAL REALITY / VR?
We’ve all seen it in countless commercials, or maybe you got to try it out at a friend’s house. Not this blogger! I had a slight idea, but never tried the goggles to really know what VR was all about. Until now.
Playing video games is one thing, but escaping to a virtual world is a whole new dimension. You get a 360-view of something that either a) replicates a real environment or b) puts you in an imaginary setting. The interactive elements and three-dimensional graphics stimulate your experience. And yes — this is all by slipping on goggles. VR is the way of the future: You’re a flying superhero one moment (check out our guy above) or a raging rock star the next. After my three experiences, I may expand my horizons past Nintendo’s Tetris and Super Mario Bros. 3…
OCULUS AT ALTO BAR AT CAESARS PALACE
What we love: Oculus is located in Alto Bar’s private lounge space, allowing you to have a more intimate VR experience
Who would love it: A 21-and-older crowd; club-goers passing time before heading to OMNIA Nightclub
Best for: Hardcore gamers (and equally hardcore artists)
Best time to do it: As part of your evening activities (and before March – it closes the end of February)
I fell in love with Alto Bar’s private lounge the second I stepped in. This is the perfect setting for you and your crew, but you can also mingle with new friends too. The lounge area has two Oculus VR stations, as well as several plush sofa chairs. And here’s where it gets good — your Oculus experience is free with a purchase of a cocktail.
I wanted to tap into my inner Picasso so I tried out the VR game, Medium. In Medium, you have a virtual instructor who guides you step by step. I’m not saying I created the perfect feline (it looked more like a Marge Simpson / rabbit hybrid), but it was an entertaining process to say the least. I enjoyed spray painting my cat with hot pink streaks… something my real-life cat would never let me do. I can cross this VR drawing experience off my bucket list, but I’ll definitely stick to my day job.
If you’re looking for something more fast-paced than a virtual art class, the staff recommended the sports and shooting games. I’ll leave those for my husband to try. Get a better feel of Oculus and make sure you stop in before the end of February. Since Oculus is inside Alto Bar, the limited-time pop up is reserved for guests 21 and older. Oculus is available from 5 p.m. until late.
HOLOCUBE VIRTUAL REALITY ARCADE AT THE LINQ HOTEL & CASINO
What we love: Slicing and dicing fruits in Holocube’s Fruit Ninja game
Who would love it: All ages and anyone who’s prepared to release tons of energy
Best for: Gamers, but also those looking for a quick workout
Best time to do it: Any time after noon, but only for a limited time (Holocube closes at the end of February)
Gamers, get ready: This is nothing like the video games you used to play at arcades or pizza parlors (although we loved those, despite the cheesy 8-bit graphics). You can choose from a variety of VR games including sports, zombie shooting and much more.
Since I’m not into shooting zombies (I’m actually more comfortable watching “The Walking Dead”), I decided to give Holocube’s version of Fruit Ninja a try. I had the mobile app when it first came out, so I thought this would be perfect to test out. I’m so glad I did. After slaying fruits with my two swords (joysticks), I felt like a legit samurai. Piece of advice: Make sure to avoid the fruit bombs — those guys come at you really fast. I had a blast slicing through the pineapples because they were so big. Fruit Ninja is also ideal if you want to release any pent-up stress.
Fruit Ninja gave me a confidence boost, so I decided to unleash my inner rock star and play Guitar Hero. After all, there are many headliners in Vegas, but only one you, baby! Get ready to double-fist pump because that’s what you’ll be doing for the entire set. With your two joysticks, you have to tap the color trails as they come toward you. It’s intense, and you get a real good workout, too. But hey — the adrenaline rush of being onstage and playing in a massive arena makes it all worth it. Righteous.
You have about three weeks to play, so make sure you check it out near TAG Sports Bar when you’re at The LINQ Hotel & Casino. It’s $10 for 10 minutes for two games of your choice.
VR ADVENTURES AT THE LINQ PROMENADE
What we love: The special effects that’ll make you feel like you’re zooming on a roller coaster or soaring above a safari
Who would love it: Adventure seekers
Best for: Those who don’t want to stand in long lines at the roller coaster; those who want to experience a safari and glaciers all in one day
Best time to do it: Before lunch (or way after lunch)
Last but certainly not least, we bring you VR Adventures at The LINQ Promenade. VR Adventures gets you to not only use joysticks, but you’ll be walking, jumping and flying in a virtual world.
I wanted to do something I never did before: jump off the top of Caesars Palace. This VR experience started with me walking on and jumping from a plank. I knew I wasn’t standing 40 stories above the ground, but I was still leery to take the plunge. I got a crazy rush when I finally did. The part I loved was blasting off into the sky from the game’s virtual elevator. When I finally zoomed via zip line, I enjoyed a cool view of the Strip and its surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for a crazy adventure without investing a chunk of your day, you’ll love this.
Looking for something more peaceful? The world tour VR experience is up your alley. After my make-believe zip line ride at Caesars Palace, I witnessed Arctic ice caps, flew over giraffes, elephants and horses, got up-close views of adorable lions and enjoyed a hot air balloon ride.
If you’re a true adrenaline junkie and crave even more thrills, don’t shy away from the virtual roller coaster. You’ll embark on so many loops and just when you think it’s over… it’s far from it, my friend. The chair rattles and moves with you, so you’ll be gripping the arm rests. You’ll be good, though. Make sure you’re hydrated before and after the ride. One last thing — just like with any other thrill ride, don’t try this right after lunch. Each experience starts at $20.
After everything, I give each VR Vegas experience two joysticks up. I love how these didn’t take all day, but still felt like I did so much. And when you’re in Sin City, you’ll want to squeeze in all the activities you can. Have a blast and check out other things to do in Vegas.