If you could do anything in virtual reality, what would you do?
That is the question that Dreamscape Immersive co-founder Walter Parkes and CEO Bruce Vaughn asked themselves when launching a story-based full-roam virtual reality experience.
The respective film producer whose credits include the Men in Black series and former head of Disney’s Imagineering obviously already knew a thing or two – or a million – about creativity and bringing to life utter greatness.
And it’s no wonder their latest project, which launched this week at NorthPark Center, is hands down the most entertaining thing I’ve done this year.
So what is Dreamscape, you ask?
To keep it simple; Dreamscape is virtual reality at its finest. It’s not just a set of goggles and a blurred line between reality and your imagination. No, this set up includes sensors on your hands and feet, props, and sound effects.
I was pretty darn shocked at how immersed I got into the settings; I tried to blow bubbles underwater, used a torch to sizzle away cobwebs, and questioned my ability to hop from one plank to the next.
Yes, that last one scared the heck out of me.
Before heading into the “Curse of the Lost Pearl: A Magic Projector Adventure” (AKA the one I panicked in), Parkes mentioned to me that above everything, Dreamscape is about the social experience, connecting with other people.
I participated in two of the three storylines with people I did not even know. And I could not agree more with what he said.
At that moment where I feared falling to my death (or tripping in my 6-inch heels), it was a stranger that reached out and grabbed my hand, helping me to cross this imaginary situation that felt real.
It’s crazy how quickly my brain adapted to accept the reality I was given.
The other storylines at Dreamscape include one about space aliens and a deep-sea adventure where you get to save a baby whale that’s entrapped by some rope.
This story was less action-packed than my other adventure, but where it lacked a physical rush, it provided beautiful imagery of life underwater.
It also told a great story about how important our sea life is.
Parkes said that goes back to his background in motion pictures, “the primary directive is to do no harm.”
He also said that while some of the most popular forms of virtual reality center around shooting games, he was more interested in telling stories in a brand new way by blending the excitement of a roller coaster with the emotion of a positive storyline.
Vaughn added that great storytelling has emotional hooks; “this is much more powerful. All of your senses are surrendered.”
Dreamscape is located on level two of NorthPark Center in between Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Ticketholders must be at least 10 years old. Tickets cost $20 each.