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What you need to know for 04/23/2017

Virtual reality lounge opening in Clifton Park

Virtual reality lounge opening in Clifton Park

Patrons invited to kill zombies or explore planet
Virtual reality lounge opening in Clifton Park
Co-owner Andreas Duerr wears a HTC Vive headset and hand controllers to make his way through a virtual reality climb.
Photographer: MARC SCHULTZ

CLIFTON PARK — An imaginary world opens to the public Friday in Clifton Park. For real.

The operator of two mystery room entertainment businesses in the region is opening Toxic VR, a virtual reality lounge, in a space in Clifton Park Center.

Patrons will be given their own booths and state-of-the-art VR goggles before choosing the experience they want — from slaying zombies to painting a masterpiece, from throwing a stick for Fido to exploring the Grand Canyon.

“It’s almost limitless what you can do,” said Donn DeLane, who is opening the business with Andreas Duerr. “I can’t wait to see what they do in the next five years.”

DeLane also opened Tru Escape mystery and escape room locations in ViaPort Rotterdam and Aviation malls in 2016. He said the time is right now for virtual reality, as the technology has matured.

“A lot of the problems people had with VR, what happens is, there’s a little bit of a lag to it — it gives people motion sickness,” he explained.

But Toxic VR's use of HTC Vive goggles and MSI Gaming computers, with their blazingly fast graphics cards, eliminates the lag and provides a remarkably lifelike experience, DeLane said.

“It’s really amazing when you’re in there, how lifelike everything is,” he said.

The available software is continually expanding, he said.

"There’s a whole list of things you can actually play and experience.”

“Resident Evil” is coming to VR next week, DeLane noted, though he won’t be spending much time with it himself.

“I’m actually scared to do it. I know how immersed you get in it; I don’t want to be immersed in that!”

Other options include:

  • Google Tilt Brush, which lets the user create a three-dimensional painting, then walk into it
  • Google Earth, which lets the user explore any place on the planet that Google Earth has photos of
  • A virtual mystery room (which is a bit ironic considering DeLane’s other businesses)
  • And a workplace simulator, the popularity of which mystifies DeLane.

“I don’t understand the hubbub, I have too many jobs as it is,” he said.

Then, he possibly answers the question by explaining that players can misbehave badly in the virtual workplace — “Let out everything there that you want to but can’t.”

ToxicVR8logo1.jpg

Toxic VR is opening with four booths; DeLane said he has an agreement with the mall to move to a larger space so he can double the number of booths and add race car seats, if things go as well as he hopes after the launch.

Prices are $15 for 15 minutes, $25 for 30 minutes and $39 for 60 minutes. Monthly membership comes with a block of time that costs less, and members can buy additional time for a reduced rate.

It’s the same price for all experiences, whether playing fetch with a dog or killing bad guys in a subway. However, DeLane said there’s not much point to doing just 15 minutes of something immersive like “Resident Evil,” as it takes a while to get into.

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