INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Over the last 10 years, the rise of eSports has seen video game revenue eclipse that of the music and movie industries. Now, the world of gaming has gone to the next level thanks to virtual reality technology, which allows players to immerse themselves in an interactive 3-D environment.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go far for the ultimate space-age experience, because located just off I-69 near east 82nd Street in Castleton is Altered Realities Virtual Reality Arcade.
Here, kids and adults alike are instantly transported to other worlds with the help of a headset, all thanks to one man’s passion for bringing virtual reality to as many people as he can.
“I bought an HTC Vive back in 2016 and the experience just blew me away. I couldn’t believe how far the technology had come,” said Brad Spelman. “I knew right then I’d kind of found my calling. I wanted to be able to share this with everybody.”
Spelman opened Altered Realities VR Arcade last year, but his passion for gaming goes back much further.
“I’ve been a gamer since I could game,” he said. “The classic arcades around you, these are from my personal collection. I’ve been collecting those since 1997.”
Spelman said most folks who visit have never experienced virtual reality gaming before.
“They are a little nervous when they come in but we do everything we can to put them at ease and make them comfortable,” he said.
But their reaction is always that of pure wonderment.
“When they first put [the headset] on, even before we’ve started the experience, they see kind of the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation and they usually are very impressed by that,” he explained. “They go, ‘Whoa! That is so cool!”
Gearing up for your VR experience requires a headset that is fitted and tightened to suit each player.
“Once you are in the headset, it is completely immersive,” said Spelman. ”You can flip down your headphones and be completely lost in the experience. You get a pair of controllers you can use to manipulate the environment around you as well.”
Whether you’re coming in solo or with a group of 20, Altered Realities can accommodate virtually everybody and their interests.
“We have a number of games you can play single player, you can play multi-player,” he said. “You can play with or against the people in your group, other people in the arcade or other people in arcades around the world.”
Four Things You Need to Know About Altered Realities VR Arcade:
- Altered Realities Virtual Reality Arcade recently celebrated their 1-year anniversary. Owner Brad Spelman is a lifelong gamer with a passion for bringing virtual reality to as many people as he can.
- Altered Realities VR Arcade is best suited for adults and children 8 and up. They are popular for groups, birthday parties, corporate events and team building events for groups of up to 32 people.
- To check them out, you can just pop in as a walk-in. But they do suggest booking online or by phone, especially for groups of 4 or more.
- They hold virtual reality gaming tournaments with cash prizes for winners. Keep an eye on Altered Realities’ website and social media for the schedule of upcoming tournaments and other events.
They offer a variety of games from kid-friendly, to sports-related and even a PUBG (PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds) style game called Battle Royale.
Our Rachel Bogle played one of the hottest new games, called Beat Saber.
“You’ll be getting into a virtual reality headset,” Spelman said. “You have a couple of wands that look like sabers that you’ll be using to chop up these blocks that come in to the beat of the music.“
One cool feature at Altered Realities is the ability for others to watch what’s happening inside your game while they wait their turn, thanks to screens outside each bay.
“We have screens outside of each of the stations so that everybody can harass or encourage their friends as much as appropriate,” Spelman said with a laugh.
For more information about Altered Realities VR Arcade, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram. They even have a YouTube channel featuring videos from previous tournaments and other game-play scenarios.
While in Castleton, check out some of the area’s most popular hot spots for fun group activities: