I recently visited Zero Latency Adelaide with four friends. It was a great experience, from the technology, immersive-ness and social aspects. My friends and I go way back playing co-operative shooter games together on PC and console, but never Virtual Reality (VR). As a teen, I was also, very obsessed with paintball. Every school holidays I would organise a busload of 20 high school friends to shoot each other at Deep Creek Conservation Park. So this “shoot ’em up” experience was very much up my alley!
The equipment consisted of high quality headset, backpack and “controller” (gun). The technology was very responsive and I did not get any dizziness or motion sickness.
The host was a lovely guy named Nam, who went through the safety tutorial in a separate ambient room. This definitely added to the suspense and build up. I couldn’t wait to get started. He answered all our questions. The safety brief did not eat into our playing time, so there was no rush to skip this. Listen very carefully to the scenario explanations, because every tip counts.
Also, during the game, the equipment can sense how close you physically are to your team. It will warn you on your headset if your team mate is physically standing next to you. The game will stop if you are too close to prevent you from running into each other. Our host was always in the room supervising us. Most of all, all the equipment was thoroughly clean to meet the COVID-19 safety standards.
When the zombies come at you the first time, it is genuinely a terrifying yet fun experience. We played 2 different zombie shooter games. Both games essentially have wave after wave of zombie hordes come at you. The second map, you have to actively repair your base which slows down the zombies. You have to work together cooperatively to win as a team, but there is an element of competition as our friend Michael was crowned the overall points leader. He was the leader in not just our game but also other teams who played the same games. He literally carried our team. Michael later explained that he used a very clever reloading strategy. However, I concluded that he was standing in an area of high zombie traffic (to get more kills). Also, in the second game, I lost valuable points because I spent a majority of my time repairing our base rather than killing zombies. To be honest, I want to go back, just to improve my score.
Things to consider
At $50 for 30 mins (each game 15 mins), it was a lot of fun. To buy this set up yourself would put you back thousands of dollars. They currently have a “madmarch” offer on their website and are also accepting “Great State Experience Vouchers”.
Children aged 13 and over can play any of the games. 10 year olds can play with an adult but not the violent shooting games.
The equipment becomes quite heavy by the end of the 2 games (total weight 6kgs. I would consider all of my friends physically fit and strong, and yet we all felt like we just had a work out by the end of the session.
Regarding VR and gaming disorder, I am yet to meet someone who was addicted to playing VR games. There has just not been the same level of uptake of this technology and I suspect the physical exertion aspects of this technology would prevent this from being a public health issue. However, I do have a feature article of a case report from Germany of a man who fractured his neck whilst playing a VR game excessively so it is possible. Would I recommend this experience to someone who has a gaming disorder or at risk of hazardous gaming? Possibly, if it meant they could get out of the house and meet up with their friends, the benefits would outweigh the relatively low risk of addiction.
4 years ago, I experienced Untethered VR Adelaide, just one block away, which uses older HTC Vive technology. This is a cheaper option, but the experience just doesn’t compare to Zero Latency which allows for bigger groups to play at once and the gun controller definitely adds to the experience. However, I would very much rather play paintball, but this is a fun alternative, conveniently situated in the city, in an airconditioned building.
I’ll be back