If you’ve worked with us over here at Arcade, or even just dropped by for a visit, you probably know that we are super enthusiastic about new technology. Every time we see the next big thing, we’re looking for ways to incorporate it into what we do.
From the day the HTC Vive was released, we knew that we wanted to bring it into team building events.
As die hard Gen Xer gaming types, we have played with Virtual Reality in several iterations over the years, and throughout the nineties and the aughts, we were generally underwhelmed by virtual reality whenever we encountered it. It wasn’t until our son convinced us to play with the Vive set up at the Living Computer Museum that we realized that while we’re still waiting for the hoverboards we were promised in Back to the Future II, virtual reality has definitely arrived.
We picked up a couple of headsets, built a couple of portable custom gaming rigs, and put in several hours of purely *ahem* work-related research, finding out which games were best suited for team building.
Our biggest hesitation was keeping that tricky generational gap in mind. While lifelong gamers take to VR pretty effortlessly, we didn’t want to build a session that would be discouraging for the set who have never really been comfortable with a controller in hand. What we’re finding though, is that VR is a great leveler. There are hardcore gamers who can’t quite get the hang of the VR interface, and people who don’t know the Super Mario theme who took immediately to the more intuitive control system, all having a blast figuring out how to succeed as a team. What we’re finding, with VR team building, is that it brings groups together, because it is generally new to everyone in the room, regardless of prior gaming experience.
There are a staggering number of games already available, and we’ve been making use of a wide array of them to build varying sessions depending on your team’s goals.
In ‘Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes,’ we team up to put our puzzle solving skills to the test by defusing bombs. Each team member has a different ‘specialty’ and manual, and only by working together and communicating as a team can the person in the ‘hot seat’ deactivate the ticking bomb. This session is a great option for teams with concerns about video gaming skills, as the interface is extremely simple and intuitive. The focus is on solving the puzzles, rather than pressing buttons at the right time, making it our most accessible session.
In ‘Batter Up,’ we work on communication from a more culinary approach. The Baker (in the headset) has to fill orders that come in with increasing speed while three other players at a time get to participate from outside the headset on controllers. The Baker can see the list of orders, but the helpers have to rely on the Baker’s communication skills to fetch the right ingredients, a recipe for hilarity as the game moves faster and faster.
In ‘Hide and Seek’ we play with a variety of interactive head to head challenges that involve a little more gaming skill. We play Blue Effect, a two player thriller where the player in the headset has to navigate a dark warehouse, shooting lighted orbs into the darkness to find the other player (on keyboard and mouse) who tries to hide in the shadows until the right moment to pounce. In this session, we also play Mass Exodus, which accommodates up to five players at a time. The seeker (in the headset) watches over a factory full of androids. Meanwhile, the four android players have to try to go unseen as they move around the map and try to escape.
Finally, we have a ‘Hardcore Gaming’ session, where we just get out Fallout 4 VR and Skyrim VR and play (with Mary at the helm running console commands to spawn in whatever enemies or gear you can imagine!)
Any and all of these sessions include additional play time where you can play with an array of great VR titles, from interactive video like The Blu and Everest VR, through fun casual games like Elven Assassin (bows and orcs in VR!), AudioShield (think DDR in three dimensions), Job Simulator (an easy, funny introduction to VR) and our own custom VR Arcade, with retro cabinet games as well as bowling, ski-ball and lots of fun secrets to discover while getting your bearings in the VR environment.
Aside from the initial four offerings we’ve been working on, we’re happy to build you a custom session geared to whatever themes, games or objectives you can imagine. We have a great space for team building, and can accommodate you at your location or at ours. Give us a call today to talk more about it!