The Void Brings Ghostbusters to Life With Immersive Experience
Lindon—There’s something strange in the neighborhood, and The Void is gonna call, well…you.
The Lindon-based company now offers its Ghostbusters Dimension experience locally. The experience allows players to strap on a proton pack—and a virtual reality headset—and hunt for ghosts, gargoyles and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in a landscape that blends real-life obstacles with their virtual counterparts, as well as gusts of air, sprays of mist and well-timed scents, to make the experience seem real enough to touch.
Kari St. John, COO of The Void, said the experience is the first to realize the full capability of virtual reality—or, as the company prefers to call it with their offerings, “hyper reality”—in ways that haven’t been technologically possible before.
“We’re converting a lot of people to VR and showing them what it can be,” he said. “The Void has taken VR and leapfrogged kind of ahead [of other VR developers] to where people wanted to be when it started many years ago, but weren’t able to deliver.”
The experience is also a much more inexpensive means for people to experience VR, St. John said. Consumer-ready VR headsets and remotes or gamepads can be hundreds of dollars, while people can experience the Ghostbusters game for the price of a ticket, he said. In addition, playing VR games at home is generally a stationary, isolated experience, he said, whereas Ghostbusters is a social and active one.
The immersive experience feels like a kind of cross between a video game, movie and a round of laser tag. It’s a more dynamic experience than most other VR companies have or can offer, said St. John, both because of the interactivity of the game and the fact that, at times, virtually all of the senses are engaged.
“People forget where they are. People get lost and you forget where VR ends and reality begins. There are physical, tactile pieces that connect you, and it allows you to let yourself believe and it helps make the rest of the [game] believable,” he said. “Because we tie all your senses together, it feels like a memory you’ve lived instead of a movie you’ve watched in 180 degrees.”
The experience originally opened in New York City in July to more than 50,000 visitors in the nine months since. Another location was also opened in Dubai for a limited engagement. The company decided to open the experience to the public at its headquarters as a means of connecting with the community, St. John said.
“This is our home—the community we love and live amongst. We wanted to share the magic we’re making in Lindon. We also want to get the local reaction to our VR,” he said.
In the near future, The Void will be expanding throughout the U.S. in strategic locations. It is also developing more experiences for visitors to discover, St. John said, both original and using branded worlds or characters, like Ghostbusters does.
“We’re delivering on the promise of what VR can be,” he said. “We allow people to be immersed in these great experiences they couldn’t have any other way. … It can take you into your favorite movies or your favorite destinations—not just oceans or deserts, but planets, places you couldn’t go to even if you had the money to travel. We see this as an opportunity to take people to places they could only dream of.”
The Void is located at 644 N. 2000 West, Lindon, Utah. Ghostbusters Dimensions is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight; and closed Sunday and Tuesday. Tickets to Ghostbusters Dimensions are $25. For more information, go to thevoid.com.