Stepping Beyond Reality And Into ‘The Void’: An Immersive VR Experience

When asked if I would like to experience The VOID’s immersive VR experience, a horror adventure with cutting edge virtual reality technology, my response was, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts.” Entering the Disney Accelerator warehouse office in Glendale, CA, I would soon experience something far beyond any home VR setup available to the public.

Behind The VOID is a father/son team who have gained attention for their captivating, hyper-reality experience productions. Their latest projects are two horror adventures that place you right in the middle of the action, resulting in an experience that is perfect for the Halloween season.

As Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of The VOID, Curtis Hickman brought his father, Tracy Hickman, aboard the project as Director of Story. You can learn more about the two entrepreneurs by visiting my press interview here. Gaining attention for their initial Star Wars VR experience, Curtis and Tracy continued to push the boundaries with their first horror-themed VR experience, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment, which follows a completely original story.

Written by Curtis and Tracy with Ninja Theory assisting with development, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment follows the story of the quiet closing of the Chicago World’s Fair following unexplained disappearances. Rumors circulate that a 1893 Electro-Spiritualism Exhibit demonstration went disastrously wrong, opening a door to the paranormal that should have remained closed. Word spreads that a mysterious creature lurks in the darkness and, two months following the horrific demonstration, strange lights are reportedly seen emerging from the dark recesses of the abandoned exhibit hall.

Placing you in the middle of an exploration expedition, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment sends you back to the moment when the lights were first spotted from the vacant exhibit hall. After selecting a character card, which will dictate your appearance through the experience, you screen a short video giving you the backstory surrounding the upcoming experience. Strapped with state of the art wireless VR helmets, visors and vests, you are paired with another explorer. When stepping foot into the VR maze, the details – from your partner’s appearance to your own hands – were stunningly real. Making your way through this maze of terror, you are expected to solve puzzles that allow you to progress through the story.

Aside from attention to detail and jump scares amplified with vest vibrations, the other elements that stood out were sensory illusion. When placing your hand on something such as a functioning wheel, you can literally feel the texture of what it appears you are touching. Other sensory manipulation involves the feeling of a breeze, water splatter, and much more!

In addition to exploring the abandoned Chicago World’s Fair of the late 1800s, I became a Ghostbuster recruit through another immersive experience called Ghostbusters: Dimension, which was developed by The VOID with the assistance of Sony Pictures Virtual Reality. After the production maze was set, my fellow rookie teammates and I watched a video of Dan Aykroyd portraying Dr. Ray Stantz welcoming us to the New York ghost fighting team.

After choosing character cards, my companions and I strapped into the wireless VR helmets, visors and vests just as we did to prepare for the Nicodemus experience. The difference? We were given proton blasters! Sending us on a coffee run, Dr. Ray Stantz reroutes us to an old apartment building in New York’s Garment District where claims of bothersome ghosts have been spotted.

So as not to spoil too much of this adventure, I will simply say that you and your team get plenty of use out of the proton blasters while experiencing amazing realistic details and sensory illusions similar to Nicodemus. Serving as more of an immersive adventure with less jump scares, Ghostbusters retains a suspenseful element and is tons of fun for anyone familiar with the classic franchise. The ending will leave you blown away!

Ghostbusters: Dimension character cards

Both experiences developed by The VOID are nothing like what is being offered anywhere else. Though providing more significance to the background of your chosen character could have taken things to another level, this socially interactive, groundbreaking experience is something you won’t want to miss. With individual tickets ranging from $29.95 to $36.95 depending on location, The VOID is found in 7 national locations and 4 international locations. Both VR experience are currently offered at Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA and The Grand Canal Shoppers at The Venetian/The Palazzo in Las Vegas, NV. They will soon be coming to The Rec Room West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and Cinemark West Plano in Plano, TX this fall. For more information, visit The VOID online here. Enhance your Halloween season this year by stepping beyond reality and immersing yourself in adrenaline fueled adventure and horror!

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