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Denmark – the Northern European gem known for its economic growth, happy population and conveyor of the general cozy vibe otherwise known as “hygge“. Denmark has over the course of the past year’s time, gradually been sprouting projects and small businesses utilizing the Virtual Reality phenomena as a cornerstone for their products. Today we’ll be taking a look at one of them.
Having hosted the globally acclaimed VR in Healthcare event back in 2016 as well as being the hotspot of a handful of local first-movers such as Khora and the Mutlisensory Lab, it’s no surprise that this prosperous piece of cycle-friendly cityscape would be the ideal location for Europe’s very first VR Café.
Within the ever-buzzing heart of Aarhus, which happens to be Denmark’s second-largest city, we at VR Today decided to venture through the doors of Limitless VR to see what the first genuine commercial-level VR café was like.
One of the things you have to remember with the commercialization of emerging technologies, is that you might very well be the most ambitious team in the world – but if the tech isn’t there, it isn’t there and there’s nothing you can do to dance around that. When Virtual Reality is concerned, the truth of the matter is that there’s really only a handful of convincing devices. The Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR and – the one that has been regarded as the current pinnacle of technological innovation – The HTC Vive.
Thankfully, the team over at Limitless has made no compromises in this department as you can no doubt tell from the image above. Each one of their stations feature a brand-new HTC Vive, hooked up to machinery that straps Nvidia GTX1080 graphics cards to deliver the best that technology has to offer at this current point in time.
Not only have they packed 6 VR-stations equipped with Vives and gorgeous audio, they also include and (rightly so) consider their state-of-the-art Cyberith Treadmills to be the main attraction. The Cyberith treadmill is an omni-directional treadmill, similar in many ways to the Virtuix Omni in that it lets you put your best foot forward and simulate the direction-controls of a game. The main difference being that the Cyberith is superior in almost every way imaginable. To pull this off in a convincing manner requires very specific development, and the team at Limitless are allegedly in constant dialogue with the latest and greatest minds to make sure they deliver a sublime experience in that regard.
The fact that while you attend a night out in a VR-based simulation with friends, you also get the chance to explore these digital realms using your own two feet, is among the reasons we rank Limitless a perfect 10 for their performance and clever use of technology.
Apart from the Cyberith treadmill stations, there’s also 2 additional PlayStation VR seats available in the back, where Logitechs G29 Racing Wheels are at the ready for those of you who might want to embark on an adrenaline-inducing race to the finish-line in various race-simulating games.
The team that met us for our reservations were kind and welcoming despite the fact that we were arriving a tad on the early side, and while we were waiting for the clock to say “show time”, our baggage was stored, and we went outside for something to eat, knowing that our things were stored away safely.
Once we were back inside, we received the introductory experience, and everyone (regardless of experience level with VR) received the advice and/or instructions necessary. No one was left feeling like they missed key information or lacked understanding of the machinery deployed.
The team were a friendly sort and as a whole, there were very little time left feeling that we weren’t taken care off, even though the door to the establishment kept ringing. It would seem that the spectacle from the stations closer to the windows had excited spectators who then walked in from the outside to get a peep at what this new technology was all about. Needless to say, the room was a lot more crowded when we plugged out of the virtual world than when we initially stepped inside. All-in-all, a professional and friendly staff.
As the evening progressed and we were taken through the various experiences and games on offer, we each had received informative guidance and a clear idea of what to do and how to do it, in order to fully enjoy the experiences we participated in.
The first experience was a tour through The Blu which is an award-winning VR-film that VentureBeat references as a “mesmerizing deep sea experience”. Taking the plunge into the deep blue sea in VR is an interesting and visually stunning introduction that will get you fired up for what else lies ahead for you, once this first presentation is done.
The Blu experience is that grandiose “wow” moment you’re looking for if you are to surprise your date, grandmother or otherwise close relations to the wonders of virtual reality. While it may be a short experience, it presents you with the realism that can be achieved using this new technology. It’s damn beautiful, that’s what it is.
The Art of Fight
Once the initial tutorial was taken, we moved on to the more competitive and demanding games. We started off with a Cyberith-calibrated version of The Art of Fight which brought us back to the good old days when Counter Strike was a sporting activity you enjoyed with friends with your computer, over the microphone. The idea that we were now inside the game, and had to bring our arms up to take aim at an opponent, was something that helped present the rendered environment to our brains as something that was actually real. I found myself (more than once) trying to dive for cover when the sound of a bullet ran right past my ear.
Affected: The Manor
The final experience, was the dreaded “Affected: The Manor” which quite literally brought me to my knees. I take no pride in the video below, but for those of you who might still need some convincing as to whether or not there’s any authentic, real-life simulating visuals going on in these kinds of horror experiences, I present to you my strongest case: An unsuspected jump-scare encounter with the ghost from Affected. Enjoy with audio:
Overall we had a great time in there. While only expecting to undertake a few experiences and maybe send out a tweet to support the local VR-based landscape, we ended up staying inside for a whopping 3 hours, before a freshly exercised group of friends decided to call it a day and return to the real world again.