Last week, I was invited to a preview of the new IMAX VR Centre at the Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto. The new centre is the first IMAX VR location to open in Canada.
I’ve tried my fair share of virtual reality headsets and experiences, everything from Google Cardboard to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. So I was excited to see how IMAX would be able to translate the social experience of virtual reality and bring it to the masses.
Each IMAX VR location has around 10 pods which are situated in a way so, even if you’re wearing the virtual reality headset, you can still have fun with your friends.
Each of the pods contains a different experience, ranging from tame sit-down experience to intense action-packed games.
I was able to try two experiences, the first of which was John Wick Chronicles which used Starbreeze’s Star VR headset and a gun-shaped controller. The game had me put in the shoes of John Wick and taking out enemies. Overall, the game was fun but it was slightly difficult to aim and control.
The other experience I did was the Justice League experience which was an IMAX VR exclusive. You can play as anyone of the members of the Justice League but I opted to go for the sit-down experience which only allowed me to choose from Batman, Superman or Aquaman to play as. The sit-down experience had me seated in a D-Box chair which moves to the motion of what you’re playing along with an HTC Vive headset and controllers.
I chose the Batman experience and it had me sitting inside the Batmobile and shooting enemies. I really liked the Batman experience, it wasn’t too intense and it really felt like I was in the Batmobile.
Some of the other experiences available or coming to soon to IMAX VR include:
- Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine, which has you wielding a lightsaber and battle against stormtroopers in a galaxy far, far, away. (Not available at the Toronto location)
- Raw Data – Multiplayer, Raw Data has you test your wits either by yourself or with a friend in the multiplayer mode.
- Eagle Flight, “50 years after humans have vanished from the earth, the city of Paris, as well as the skies above it, are yours. Soar, dive, race, and fight to protect your territory from your opponents. Experience the freedom of flight along with the thrill of aerial combat.”
- Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Just like the name implies, it puts you and your friends in the bridge of the starship. Every action and decision in the game will determine the fate of your ship and crew.
- Space Flight: Orbital Emergency, this gives you a unique way to enjoy the “exhilarating feel of a space jet take-off and witness the stunning view of Planet Earth in zero gravity.”
Each experience is around 8 to 15 minutes long and is approximately $9 to $12. IMAX will also be partnering with companies and filmmakers such as ILMxLABS, Warner Bros., Sony, Lionsgate, VRC, Ubisoft.
IMAX has also announced that they’ve created a fund to help create 25 interactive VR content experiences over the next three years.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at the IMAX VR Centre but I’m one of those people who has tried a bunch of VR headset while many people may not have. I think these IMAX VR Centres are a good way for people who want to try virtual reality but can’t justify the cost of buying a VR headset and compatible PC.