Legitimately immersive virtual reality has long been something that only exists in the future, but it's finally here and it's not going anywhere soon.
It's in Auckland thanks to Zero Latency - a virtual reality free-roam gaming facility that has spots in 26 other countries around the world. The only NZ location is in Auckland atm, but I reckon there'll be one everywhere soon enough, it's too much fun to not be in every urban hub.
I was never gifted at Call Of Duty (COD) Zombies. My brother, and later my mates, always having to revive me as the waves and waves of zombies always got the better of me, but thanks to Zero Latency, I overcame my zombie demons.
Located in Auckland’s CBD, Zero Latency is pretty much laser strike combined with Virtual Reality. You and seven of your mates chuck on headsets, get given a gun, and walk into a 200-square-metre room.
Once you pop that headset on, that room may as well be a spaceship as you suddenly find your surroundings completely and digitally foreign. The crew and I found ourselves in a post-apocalyptic city. It doesn’t look like our reality, but it genuinely feels like you’re in the world of a game, a la the aforementioned ‘COD Zombies’.
Scaling the ruins of a high-rise building was far and away the best aspect of this virtual world. You walk up a rickety plank on the side of these ruins and the display moves in a way that makes it genuinely feel like you’re moving upwards.
Looking down is also horrifying, it's a long way down. In my mind, I knew there was a floor there in the real world, but everything in your body does not want you to jump at all, so I didn’t. Perhaps a more curious soul with bigger balls will take the leap.
I was in this world for thirty minutes, but there are other options, if you've got smaller balls. There are 15-minute zombie sessions and non-zombie games, like Far Cry, the puzzle/parkour game Engineerium, or sci-fi game 'Singularity'.
The weirdest thing about the whole day was taking off the headset and seeing how small the room actually was. We're jumping, combat-stancing, and 360-no-scoping in a completely different world.
Our fighting may have looked goofy, but God, it felt seamless while in there.
You can swap between an assault rifle or a shotgun at literally the press of a button. Whatever gun you run follows exactly what you do with your arms. I tested it out with some between-the-leg firing, and elegant af spins - my character followed suit flawlessly.
Aiming is important, as headshots are tracked, and missing a shotgun blast when a zombie is inches away is a virtual death sentence (blasting a zombie up close, though, is beautiful).
It’s undoubtedly fun now, but it makes me so excited about the future. In five years I think a full-size COD zombies map will be playable, or even a Hunger Games scenario, with dozens of others in the same game. Don’t be surprised if birthdays, weekend daytime outings, and team-building activities are all dominated by Zero Latency or their equivalent within the next decade.
If you are keen to play now, get amongst it quick. You can walk in whenever, but the great staff at Zero Latency informed me they are packed from open to close every weekend, so it’s way safer to book. No bullshit, you won’t regret it.