Japan is arguably the king of video games, with worldwide titles such as Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Final Fantasy. Virtual Reality is a relatively new concept, with many experimental titles still in the works by both large companies and independent developers. VR is the future of gaming, with hand devices and headsets to take you from just watching a screen to being fully immersed in the game’s world.
VR headsets are still expensive and the concept of having your own Virtual Reality console is still futuristic to even the most up-to-date of gamers. In Tokyo, the VR Zone is a place where you can try Virtual Reality games for a fee, and get a taste of the possibilities it opens up.
The VR Zone
Shinjuku is one of Tokyo’s downtown hotspots, great for dining, shopping, and nightlife. You can reach the VR Zone in just a few minutes from Shinjuku Station.
The VR Zone opened in July 2017 and has been massively popular since. It is recommended that you go early so that you don’t have to wait in line for so long.
A 4,400 yen ticket gets you entry and one ticket of each colour: red, yellow, green, and blue. Each attraction has its own colour, which you can see on the leaflet provided on entry. If you don’t want to do try VR, a single entry ticket is 800 yen. However, each VR activity is 1,200 yen each after that so the 4,400 yen is worth paying.
Children under 13 can enter for 500 yen, but most of the rides have a restriction that only those of 13 years of age and above can experience. Therefore, it might be better to go if you are a group of adults or a couple rather than a family with small children.
It is important to note that the attractions are constantly changing. When we went, there was a fantastic four-player Mario Kart VR where I raced my friends. You can choose Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, or Princess Peach (as the only woman in the group, I was lumbered with Peach), grab items, and try to beat your friends to the finish line.
The cart you sit in moves and you drive with a real steering wheel and pedals, so it really felt as though I was racing along the Nintendo world, grabbing bananas and hammers and smacking my friends! It was insane and a lot of fun.
Hospital Escape Terror
You could hear the terrified screams all the way up the hallway with this attraction! I actually felt nervous when we were waiting to enter the very Silent Hill-esque horror hospital. We sat in wheelchairs with nothing but a flashlight for guidance, with jump scares around every corner.
It is hard to describe how truly scary it was. It was unlike a horror ride at a theme park, because it felt more real. With a big headset and heavy headphones, all you can see and hear is the ambience of the horror-filled world. The four of us could play together with voice chat, which was great, and try to escape before we were killed. This was definitely a highlight of the zone.
Armored Trooper Votoms Battling Dudes
You can ride this attraction with any coloured ticket. It was a lot of fun to 1-on-1 with my boyfriend and try to blow up his robots before he could destroy mine. This seemed like a game that you would have to play several times to get good at, but it was still fun to play.
I didn’t personally try this one, but those who did said it was very difficult! On SKI Rodeo, you try to ski down a mountain past obstacles without falling. One highlight of this attraction was that you could even see the mist as you were breathing, which made the experience feel all the more real.
Daiba Aerial Clash
This exciting ride involved getting onto a Gundam’s hand and watch an epic Gundam fight! I’d recommend starting with this one because although it was fun to feel like I was being risen two hundred feet into the air and watch giant robots fight, it was a little anti-climatic after Mario Kart and Hospital Escape Terror. However, I’d still recommend it for teenagers and fans of Gundam.
It would be expensive to try everything all in one day, but some other attractions caught my attention, such as The Big Fear of Heights Experience, which made you feel like you were walking on a plank hundreds of feet in the air. Unfortunately, this was worth a yellow ticket and nothing was going to take priority over Mario Kart.
There were also VR experiences involving Dragonball and Evangelion, so fans of those anime might want to check out the themed experiences.
To reach the VR Zone, take the East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station and head through Kabukicho. Turn left at the cinema and head through the square to reach the VR Zone.
The VR Zone is unmissable for fans of video games or those who would just like to try a new experience! Virtual Reality will probably be mainstream in the next few years, so now is the time to try it in it's infancy. Although a little expensive, the attraction was well worth the money and I can’t wait to go again.