Urban Safari, an "arcade-style showroom" that allows customers to play around with virtual reality technology, has opened its second pop-up showroom on the ground floor of coworking space Digital Garage, at 719 Market St.
Owner Han Liu opened his first pop-up in the Palace of Fine Arts earlier in the summer, as a way to test people's inclination for virtual reality games. Liu's inspiration for these arcades comes from a combination of meeting local developers and seeing new products, and the excitement he sees when people try out VR for the first time.
"We are trying to make it a cool spot to try out what people make locally," said Liu. "It's a cool hangout spot."
Using Oculus Rift and HTC Vive devices, visitors to Urban Safari can play four games: horror, job simulation, painting and shooting. (Liu is currently seeking new games to add to the list.) Two hand-held controllers track players' spatial boundaries and mimic their movements, with play costing $1/minute.
Unlike traditional video games, virtual games are "really about being immersed in a world, rather than you watching something," said Liu. "It's a completely different medium, like drawing on paper versus sculpting — the material is different, therefore, you can't recreate the experience."