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Virtual Reality Arrives in Idaho

Story by Brandi Roberts, Photos by Jim Peterson

Your castle is being attacked by a scrambling horde of little paper men yielding shields and swords. You have a bow and arrow and must quickly launch an attack against them. They keep coming in waves, so you add fire to your arrow and aim it at the oil barrels. A big explosion takes out the pesky savages. Success! You defeat the horde and keep the tower safe for one more day.

VR1, Idaho’s first and only virtual reality arcade, is the brainchild of Brendan Smythe Jr., a 2015 Eagle High School graduate. When he approached his parents, Brendan and Michele Smythe, owners of the architecture and design firm Draftech with a desire to create a safe and fun VR arcade with the latest technologies and popular games for all ages and abilities, his vision became a family affair.

Virtual reality is a computer-simulated environment where the user is completely immersed and becomes part of the virtual world through physical, visual, and audio stimulation. The user is able to interact and manipulate objects and space. The user wears a specially designed headset, headphones, and uses trackable hand controllers. VR1 utilizes the HTC VIVE VR system with games and experiences powered by Steam.  The HTC VIVE is unique in that it reads and tracks the user’s movements. The gamer is able to duck, look under objects, move around in space, and grab hold of objects. This full body interaction can feel so real you may forget you are playing a game.

Each gamer plays in one of the five 10×10 cages (gaming stations). Each of the five cages has a designated seating area where guests are able to relax and observe live game play on a large screen. VR1 also supports multiplayer games where users can compete against their friends in the next cage or online with other live players.

VR1 offers the most popular, up-to-date VR games and experiences in the industry. They have over twenty games with action, horror, sports, and artistic themes. Users can play games like mini-golf, climbing, paintball, skiing, military simulation experience, and more. For the non-gamers, there is still plenty of virtual reality to explore. Take a day trip to Paris with Google Earth, create a 3D painting where you can step through and look behind and underneath your painting, or take a ride on a wild rollercoaster. You can even get an aerobic workout in with Audioshield, a game that tests your hand-eye coordination by striking colored orbs with your hand-held shields while listening to your favorite music.

VR1 is a perfect venue for birthday parties, team-building events, date night, or solo play. VR1 accepts walk-ins and online reservations.

To find out more information contact

VR1 at www.vr1arcade.com OR 208-941-5859