Saturday, March 18, 2017

Park: Hub Zero

After Bollywood Park, the club decided to head off to Global Village, a large attraction space south of the city. I decided to go with Jeppe and visit Hub Zero for a few hours before heading down there. 

Hub Zero opened a year ago and is an indoor amusement park specialising in VR and immersive gaming experiences. 

The building is part of the City Walk complex which houses a number of stores, eating places and some other stuff (see later). You can pay per attraction or buy an all-attraction card, which is what we did. Note some of the attractions have restrictions and one requires a pre-booked slot. The attractions on the upper floor (arcades, pool, gaming and karaoke) are not included in that card.

My favourite attraction which was the one we did first was Escape from Midgar, a 3D tunnel simulator attraction based on the characters from the best Final Fantasy game, number 7 and the motorbike sequence from it. I probably liked this one because of the nostalgic vibe it gave me. Unfortunately we only got the 2D version as the 3D wasn't working, it's still really good though. 

The next best attraction was Resident Evil which is a 3D shooting game with laser sights where you have to shoot spiders off the infected as they come towards you. It works because you have to spot where the spiders are and aim; you can't just shoot blindly.

The attraction we went back to was Hyperdrive, 4 car racing simulators with 6 degrees of motion being provided by a series of pneumatic pistons under the car. I won every time we raced haha! This attraction had the longest queue due to the slow throughput but that was about 10 minutes max.

Dragon Age was the one attraction I was too heavy to ride with a 100kg limit. It's a 4-seater robo-coaster in front of a circular screen like a simpler version of the Harry Potter ride at IOA.

Hack Attack is a VR attraction where you're a sniper atop a tower block armed with a rifle fitted with a scope through which you have to look to take out a number of robot soldiers on the battlefield below you. This one took a little while to get used to but you're given 10 minutes in each session to get used to it, and by the end of my allocation I had completed the easy level and made good progress through the medium.

Battlefield is another VR game but this one isn't open yet. It's due to open any time now.

There are a number of attractions for the little ones too. This is Tiny Track Racers which is a multi-player racing simulator. Elsewhere there are climbing and sport arenas, and an entire playground themed around Plants vs Zombies. If your kids are slightly younger elsewhere in the complex there's a Mattel-themed park called Play Town and some other places to keep them entertained.

Another popular attraction, although there's not much to photograph is the VA Virtual Arena. This is 4 enclosures in which you're given a VR headset and firearm to shoot a never ending onslaught of zombies. This is particularly clever as there are no cables and all the tracking is done through a number of sensors positioned around the top of each enclosure. It's a little temperamental, I had to swap enclosures when the screen started to flicker due to some misalignment in the sensors, but the experience is genuinely scary and was the one attraction that was making people scream and jump around in fright as they realised the zombies were coming from all directions.

We had a quick look upstairs and were blown away by the selection of video games that they had with a huge array of early generation of games to play. The cabinets were new so I suspect this was some sort of MAME installation. 

We got our nostalgic gaming kick via a 2-player game of Time Pilot. What a game!
We could easily have stayed up here all night but thought better of it and after a quick explore we went back down to do the things we'd already paid for.

As we left Hub Zero we spotted a night time light show taking place in the centre of the complex. It featured robot arms coming out of central fountain that became projection screens, so pretty hi-tech.


and as a complete surprise there were a number of art pieces from D*Face, Ron English and The London Police.

So Hub Zero was pretty good but it wouldn't have worked with the entire club there and I'm glad I did it under my own steam. The throughput is horrid and not suited for heavy impatient crowds. The selection of attractions is great (a lot of them come from UK based, Simworx, who also provided Ra-One at Bollywood). Even with the small queues on my visit we still spent a good couple of hours here.

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