The advent of VR arcades in NYC has breathed new life into city’s struggling brick-and-mortar arcade industry. Retro video game cabinets are now nostalgic relics, mementos of the 80s and 90s, and curiosities of a time when every child, teen and adult didn’t walk around with a personal computer and gaming device in their pocket.
But the demand for immersive, exclusive, cutting-edge virtual reality experiences has been booming, and the Big Apple seems to show no signs of being unable or unwilling to meet consumer demand.
The Top VR Arcades in New York
Here are 6 of the best-rated virtual reality gaming experiences you can find in the city. Did we leave something out, or do yo have something to add? Let us know about your experience (or high scores) in the comments below.
Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, PlayStation VR, Virtuix Omni gaming treadmill, driving simulator, flight simulator
Hubneo has some of the more advanced hardware in the city, as far as simulators go. They have multiple advanced VR peripherals like the Virtuix Omni treadmill and custom driving and flight simulators, and also host monthly VR gaming meetups that cover topics ranging from VR game content development and design, how simulators work to enhance gameplay and immersion, and more.
In their own words: “Hubneo’s long term goal is to provide people with the most advanced and immersive experiences of new worlds possible only through VR. We also strive to provide the most realistic simulations of real world environments as recreated in the virtual landscape.”
Opened: July 2017
2. Jump into the Light
180 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, more
Located in the Lower East Side, Jump into the Light also hosted the well-attended Jump into VR Fest. In addition to playing games, guests can also watch 360VR films and make their own 3D VR selfies.
JITL does a great job emphasizing a greater spectrum of gameplay for casual users.
In their own words: “Be among the first to experience this world changing revolution!
Jump Into The Light is America’s first Virtual Reality Cinema and Playlab.
Our guests can also learn how to create VR/360 experiences during our workshops and be 3D scanned into the Ultimate 3D VR Selfie for sharing on social media or 3D print.”
Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR
In their own words: “vrbar is Brooklyn’s first virtual reality arcade. Wednesday – Sunday from 12pm to 8pm and offer over 15 experiences to choose from. We are also available for party rentals, corporate events and meetups.
Stop in to see what everyone’s talking about.”
Opened: October 31, 2016
4. VR World
Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Moveo, driving simulators
VR World is the gateway, and gateway drug, to casual VR use. They have a mezzanine dedicated to VR art and 360VR cinematic experiences, and worked in consortium with a VR art collective to collaboratively design the space. There’s a bar downstairs, and several rigs that allow for multiplayer gameplay (Raw Data is a must). They also have a few one-off experiences, like walking the plank, and a climbing game, and the ever popular Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality game.
VR World has dozens of stations, and each area is staffed by several technicians who help guests in and out of their rigs. It’s set up more like a theme park than an arcade; guests can purchase a day’s worth of access, or a 2 hour pass, and enjoy as many experiences and games as they’d like.
Also, there’s a bar.
In their own words: “VR World is the largest VR experience center on this side of the planet! We launched with over 50 content pieces spanning multiple genres from entertainment to music, social impact, science, and art all housed within a massive, fantastical space.
Onsite content is tightly curated to show the best of many genres, taking advantage of the scope and size of the space to allow viewers to deeply explore the medium.”
Opened: June 21, 2017
5. Yokey Pokey
Hardware: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR
Closed on weekends
In their own words: “We provide amazing experiences in our Virtual Reality Lounge
YokeyPokey is a new virtual reality club in Brooklyn, NY. We care about giving our customers the premier type of experience and exposure to virtual reality. YokeyPokey provides space for members to explore the VR world through gaming and experiences, for companies to have corporate events and for families to have the most amazing events and parties.”
Opened: July 11, 2017
6. The Void
Ghostbusters experience at Madame Tussauds
In their own words: “Our proprietary hardware and software explode the limitations surrounding current and upcoming VR entertainment offerings by putting you inside digital worlds layered over interactive environments. Things are more real than ever when you and your friends step beyond reality.
Imagine feeling explosions, the wind in your face or the ground rumbling under your feet. We are committed to taking you beyond virtual reality.”
Opened: July 1, 2016