Find that secret
Fair warning, this will contain spoilers if you have not been to the event.
On the 7th Jan, we decided to try out the Virtual Reality Star Wars experience in London. It is an experience where we are Rebels disguised as Stormtroopers on a mission for Mon Mothma. Below is their promotional video.
The pop up was massive. It covered a large open area in the Westfields shopping center, and it looked very professional. This was a great start and we were pretty excited to be here. While they recommend getting there 10 mins before, we got there about 15 mins before. We had already pre-paid, so all we needed to do was agree to a lot of terms and conditions. They had a lot of iPads on stands for this, so it was not an issue.
We waited a little while, maybe 5-10 mins before we were called in. We were a group of three, and the game has a maximum of 4 capacity.
We had a brief video which featured Diego Luna. So the timeline was set for us - this was happening before Rogue One.
We then donned our VR vest and headset. We walked to the start, asked to lower the visual visor and check that everything looked good. It took a couple of seconds for the sets to warm up, and then i saw my two friends as Stormtroopers. The experience was on.
The Quest begins
We needed to locate a crate and see what was inside it. We were assisted by a trooper, and K2SO droid. We started the mission by entering a small ship and sitting down. The commander was briefing us, but i paid little attention, as i was looking all around me. The commander was in the front, and behind me was an R2 droid. It was amazing, it really felt like we were there. I thought i felt some vibrations, but my senses were being overrun that i might have imagined that.
We landed and left the room and entered a platform, which would take us up to the Imperial Base. I 'know' we were not physically moving, but my mind was certain we were. I am not very good with heights and i lose strength in my legs. It felt very much like that as we were moving on that platform. I honestly thought that if i moved too close to the edge, then i would fall off. At the same time, we there was a heat source behind us (we were flying over some lava). Amazing. If this is what the rest would be like, i would be happy.
We entered the building and pulled a leaver to start the lift down. Again, the visuals were amazing and i must have looked like a tourist trooper as i was swinging my head all over the place to capture all the details. We continued through some more corridors and doorways. At this point, i had faith in the software to not allow me to walk into a wall. I admit, the first couple of doorways i did place my hand out in front of me just in case.
Eventually, we got hold of some weapons, but we must have messed up, as the alarms went off. Well, we are armed now.
The experience then changed slightly, as it now became an interactive game. We were battling the Stormtroopers and they were firing back. This was a great experience and yes, as we were dressed as troopers we also missed a lot of the time as well. After defeating a number of troopers we were outside and Lava monsters started to appear, this was the only weird part of the whole of the experience for me, but it was still very enjoyable.
We entered another room which was very large. The crate we wanted was there and the commander opened it to reveal the secret (no, i won't say what it was). Then we heard the rasping breath of a very well known Star Wars character - Darth Vader. Wow, it was an amazing experience to shoot at this Sith Lord and watch him deflect all our shots. I would have been totally happy if he had destroyed us in that scene, but that was not the case. We were rescued by K2SO as he smashed through the wall and we scrambled to get into the ship to escape.
The experience lasted 15 minutes, and for £30 some people may find that a little expensive. Personally, i thought it was money well spent and this was one of the best experiences i have had for a long time. It was immersive and interactive. We had a wonderful time and i would do this again without a doubt (as long as it was a new experience).