5,000 square feet of VR gaming, immersive art, and live event space.
After growing too big for its former digs, Brooklyn-based mixed reality arcade, VRBAR, has changed shape and size, and consequently what it can now offer to its clientele in new ways.
Just one door down from its previous home on Jay Street and only a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge Park, families, tourists, and VR-enthusiasts alike can find themselves happily hanging out in the expansive, whimsically-decorated attraction.
“We moved to accommodate large and small events, like a birthday or corporate party, while still having space to be open for walk-in customers at the same time,” VRBAR owner, Kishore Doddi informs. “With a brand new renovation of this 5,000 square foot space much larger play areas have been created so we can include free-roam and multiplayer experiences, too. We’ve even begun to talk to creators about commissioning or hosting site-specific installations in the future.”
Doddi, who has been running the XR arcade for 3 years, has a passion for bringing new technologies to the public and wants to continue his noble crusade of putting people in headsets, often for their first time. “The reason I decided to start VRBAR was to make high-end equipment available for people who otherwise wouldn’t know how to find it or be able to purchase it. The other goal is to help creators make amazing pieces to share with audiences.”
Don’t be fooled by VRBAR’s brick-and-mortar space, which also serves as a gallery for a collection of AR-enabled illustrations curated and partially created by animator, Julie Gratz of Kaleida Studio; Doddi and his team also work closely with festivals and companies to bring XR out and into the world for site-specific activations elsewhere. A long list of collaborations includes groups ranging from Future of Storytelling to the New York Public Library for events like A Night of Philosophy. When it comes to these live attractions, Doddi prioritizes experiences that help encourage the ever-growing VR market.
VRBAR recently launched two short-term partnerships: For “Brooklyn Falls for France”, VRBAR partnered with the French Embassy of the United States as a cultural institution to celebrate French art and creators, including work by Parisian XR studio, Atlas V, as well as Ubisoft escape rooms and Innerscape’s puzzle adventure. The other partnership revolves around a sponsorship from the NYC Police Foundation (NYCPF) to teach underprivileged high school students coding with attention on VR development, animation, and writing.
“We love all of the experiences we are showing and we are honored to be part of the Brooklyn Falls for France showcase,” Doddi shares. “I also think it will be amazing to start working with students chosen by the NYCPF. Based on the glowing feedback from the NYCPF and the students from the first four workshops, this program will expand very quickly.”
Feature Image Credit: Darragh Dandurand