Neil Frame 02/08/22
Sandbox VR is bloody amazing.
Like… there are a lot of immersive experiences, theatre and activities in London that promise genuine immersiveness (which is of course something that can be easily and scientifically measured by counting the number of times that each participant thinks during the activity about either 1) What they’re having for dinner 2) How little fun they’re having, or 3) How much money it cost them to have such little fun). But this new London experience genuinely IS fully immersive; it genuinely IS fun; and you genuinely WON’T think about anything – beyond your own survival – throughout the entire ordeal.
Team Nudge headed along in a collective state of extreme cynicism when it opened at the end of July ’22 to try it out, fully believing that we were going to have the worst time ever. Not sure why though, because half an hour later this was us – scared shitless, and having the time of our lives…
The first indication that Sandbox VR’s London outpost might be the real deal was the size of the venue we arrived at. We thought we’d be walking into a small room somewhere to play on someone’s computer, but instead struggled to heave open the gigantic doors of Sandbox’s vast Soho HQ (located at the end of Drury Lane in Covent Garden) before emerging into a cavernous lobby where people were sipping cocktails mixed by a robotic bartender. So far, so surprising.
But the real surprise was still to come. Because after choosing our game (Sandbox’s most recent release, Deadwood Valley) we were taken downstairs to be kitted out in what felt like the sorts of bullet proof vests and backpacks that Batman and / or your friendly neighbourhood Navy Seal would wear. We also threw on some funny looking bubble sensors on our wrists and ankles, before heading into a large, empty white room where VR headsets (with built in headphones and microphones, so we could communicate with each other throughout our mission) were lowered over our eyes. Then the lights went out. And when they came on again, we were all standing together on the streets of some post-apocalyptic American City, frantically defending ourselves with shotguns, machine guns, rifles and handguns from a genuinely quite terrifying zombie onslaught that lasted in a variety of locations for almost half an hour. When we were finally evacuated from the game (by helicopter, obviously) everyone was sweating, elated, confused and only slightly disappointed to have been completely wrong about Sandbox from the outset.
The only real downside came when we left the building…
…and realised that none of us had decided what to have for dinner.
NOTE: Sandbox VR is open daily. For more information, or to book, visit their website HERE.
Sandbox VR | The Post Building, Museum Street, London, WC1V 6PJ
Looking for some slightly less terrifying immersion? Check out our take on Punchdrunk’s The Burnt City
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The Post Building, Museum Street, Holborn, WC1V 6PJ
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9 | Amazing
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