I geared up for my Sandbox VR "Amber Sky" experience with a few friends, not knowing what to expect. I haven't played video games or done virtual reality much before, so I was excited to try something new in this interactive, fully immersive, 45 minutes where I would be riding a space elevator and fighting off aliens to save the universe.
The new Sandbox location in The Village at Totem Lake is the first for WA State and you can choose from the 5 different experiences that they offer. Simply book your time online, and then arrive a little early to get checked in and suited up in your futuristic vest, battery pack, wrist/ankle sensors, and of course headset/headphones. All of this gear gets thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in between sessions. Sandbox can take up to six people in each of their four rooms. I was a bit worried about all of my old lady ailments- would I be able to see clearly without my glasses? Would I feel motion sickness like I do in cars sometimes? But these turned out to be non-issues. Even my friends with occasional vertigo did just fine with this super realistic experience. The free-range camera allows you to move within the game while simultaneously interacting with and around the people you are playing with. I was really glad I peeled my sweater off and wore just my tee shirt to play because fighting for the universe can be a bit stressful. Take care to listen to the directions in the beginning so you know how to operate your weapons, re-load, and bring each other back to life.
My friends and I all thought this was a blast and talked about what we learned this time that would change our strategy a bit for how we would play again in the future. Most of us have teenage sons that would love this, if only they could afford it ($50-55 per person), therefore making it a great gift or birthday outing for that age group. This would also be a fun date night or team-building exercise. Whether you are a gamer or not, this technology is a wonder to witness and command and it's right here in our backyard. It was just the right amount of time to feel like you got a fair amount of playtime without being overloaded. And BONUS, at the end you get a video that summarizes your game, both virtually and the correlating movements and sounds you were actually making in the room. Those were some good belly laughs! Sandbox VR is open during the week from 10 am-10 pm and weekends from 10 am- 11 pm. Go check it out. You too can save the universe whether it is from pirates, aliens, or zombies, I know you'll keep us safe.