You might hear the term “arcade” and think you know exactly what to expect. But Green Bay-based Edge VR Arcade isn’t your typical dark room with video games and pinball machines.
Edge VR Arcade focuses on virtual reality, which is an immersive form of entertainment.
“It involves all of your senses, and you can be transported,” says Tony Reale, one of the arcade’s co-owners. “You can do all sorts of things that are impractical or impossible to do in real life.”
With the next-closest virtual reality arcade more than two hours away, Edge VR Arcade brings something different to the Green Bay scene, and that’s exciting for Reale and its other co-owners Sean Bowers and James DeGroot.
The trio have owned a video production company, Creative Edge Productions, since 2009. As early adopters of technology who continued to see the popularity of virtual reality increase across the globe, they decided their video production studio would be the perfect place to open a virtual reality arcade. Edge VR Arcade opened this past March.
Since then, they’ve enjoyed watching their customers experience virtual reality for themselves. The owners find most people are blown away by the technology, particularly if they’ve tried a limited version of virtual reality on their phones. Having the whole experience — with elements like moving seats and even omnidirectional treadmills — is far more immersive and more physically active than first-time visitors typically assume, Reale says.
Reale and his partners look forward to fostering a community around gaming while demonstrating what a fun social activity it can be. They’ve added a restaurant that serves items like pizza and beer.
“We’re really creating an atmosphere,” Reale says. “When you get too old for Chuck E. Cheese’s, you come to Edge VR Arcade.”
Virtual reality gaming is something you can easily do with friends, Bowers says.
“People think it’s isolating, but it’s really a social experience that you can share with your friends,” he says. “That was the biggest draw to us — sharing it with people and having fun with them when they experience it. That’s really what drove us to begin the arcade in the first place.”