The advent of VR is one that is continuing to develop year after year. Headsets alone have gone from clunky bits of kit connected to a computer by a dozen cables to just a slightly big pair of goggles.
While the idea of forking out hundreds for a home headset is enough to put anyone off, there’s a much better, more expansive and more social way to try virtual reality. Step up, MeetspaceVR featuring Zero Latency.
Even for anyone who thinks they know VR, think again. After visiting ourselves and expecting to be stood in one spot turning our heads and waving our arms in the air, we weren’t prepared for the truly impressive set-up Meetspace have going on in Manchester.
Unlike virtual reality experiences you may have tried before, thanks to fully-fledged scenarios from developers Zero Latency, MeetspaceVR delivers a number of thrilling digital situations across two free-roam arenas that are larger than a tennis court.
That’s right, groups of up to eight of you can navigate a digitally reimagined space in their North3 warehouse unit near Trafford Park, living out scenarios such as a zombie apocalypse, traversing an alien landscape or fighting mythical creatures in a medieval fantasy world.
This is much more than a game and you certainly don’t need to be a gamer to enjoy it. Who knew you could visit space from the comfort of a Manchester postcode?
Top-of-the-range tech and team
We played all of the above, utilising everything from a VR rifle (basically a high-tech Laser Quest gun) to individual handheld controllers that allow you to move fingers and thumbs independently, and it genuinely blew our minds.
Rather than being stood in one place, at MeetspaceVR your body becomes the controller and the entire experience turns what can often be a very anti-social pastime into a team effort, providing full communications in your headset and, of course, a scoreboard for those who love to keep it competitive.
That goes for the staff too. Throughout your sessions which can run anywhere between half an hour to 45 minutes at a time, not only do they make sure to monitor all of the start-of-the-art tech bringing these scenarios to life, but they also keep you updated on your objectives via your radio comms.
Because they’re always on the ball to make sure everything’s running smoothly, the entire thing feels really intuitive and don’t worry, you never have to worry about bumping into walls or each other — there a virtual markers for all that stuff.
Digital arcade, virtual escape rooms and more
As well as familiar titles like Far Cry (based around third game), you can also do VR escape rooms and even just play mini arcade games like practising your basketball skills while you’re waiting in the lobby.
One of their many mottos is “off-sites done right” and we can see why. We’re already looking for our next opportunity to go on a works do and kill our co-workers in VR. Everybody needs to vent from time to time and this way you can do some team-building at the same time.
To think they transformed what was previously nothing more than a big empty warehouse into a fully-fledged virtual reality arena complete with briefing areas and areas to just chill out and play some console classics after you’re knackered from running around is quite something.
You can even drink while you’re there guys. You can only imagine the kind of carnage people can get up to when shooting zombies and having a pint.
Better still, MeetspaceVR is the only place where you can play theexclusive Zero Latency games catalogue in the UK, including Far Cry VR, Sol Raiders, Outbreak Origins and many more. You’ll love to feel the freedom of their gameplay.
Located upstairs in North3 Stretford (M32 0TB) next to Trafford Park and just a five-minute drive from the Trafford Centre, or 25 minutes from the city centre, you don’t have to travel far at all to be transported to an entirely different world thanks to the power of virtual reality.
Free-roam VR sessions start from just £24.95 per person and you can see all their various other packages on their website.
They even have gift cards that will make for a perfect Christmas or birthday gift, including their current Black Friday Offer, offering you 30% off until 28 November and also registering you as a Black Card member which grants you a 20% discount off all future bookings.
Get yourselves down there, folks. We promise it won’t disappoint. This place is only going to keep getting bigger and we can’t wait to see what they have in store.
Featured Image — MeetspaceVR featuring Zero Latency (Supplied)
Steph Houghton interview: the Manchester derby ‘means absolutely everything to the fans’
Ahead of the Women’s Super League Manchester derby on 11 December, we had the pleasure of speaking to Manchester City captain, Steph Houghton MBE.
The 34-year-old City defender and England international has been a stalwart for the side since 2014 and with the Blues in touching distance of United in the table, manager Gareth Taylor will be looking for a statement performance.
Leading by example, Houghton knows exactly what derby day means for the club and the fans.
Here’s what she had to say ahead of the big fixture.
What does the Manchester derby mean to you?
“It means absolutely everything. I think from the moment I stepped into this club, and even prior to joining, I knew the Manchester derby means absolutely everything to the fans.
“For us as players to pull on the shirt, it’s not just about the game itself, it’s the bragging rights after and just that pride of playing for Manchester and this football club.
“We know it’s going to be an absolutely massive game, the last time we played at the Etihad it was such an amazing occasion. It’s only good when you do win, so for us as players it’s about taking the atmosphere in and knowing that there are going to be a lot more City fans than there is United.
“Hopefully, put on a great performance, get those three points that we need and Manchester will be blue.”
What are your memories of the last derby at the Etihad Stadium in 2019?
“I think for us we obviously knew there were a lot of tickets sold [a WSL record of 31,213, in fact]. We all went over to the stadium a couple of days before to get some familiarity with where we’d be on matchday.
“You then as a player start thinking about what will happen. But then that moment when you’re warming up and the crowd are cheering you and shouting your name, and then the moment when Caz Weir scored, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a noise like it.
“I think when you play in those games it’s about making the most of it. It’s going to be a great occasion, it’s been a long time coming since we played at the Etihad so it’s just about going and enjoying it and embracing it.”
Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw is averaging over a goal a game at the minute, what makes her so special?
“I think for me, in terms of the chances she’s getting at the moment, she just seems to be putting every single one away. When you have strikers in that form you just have to keep on giving her the ball because she will create something.
“You saw against Everton it’s not just her scoring, she’s producing goals for other people as well. In terms of training, to play against her and mark her is so difficult because of that physicality and she’s starting to show that on the pitch now.
“It was her first season last year, so it takes a while for people to get used to how we play but come this second season she’s started so well and let’s hope that continues.”
City also have a 100% home record against United. How much do you think that will play into the result?
“Not just against United, our home record is pretty impressive. When we play at the Academy Stadium but especially against United, we want to win so badly, and I think it’s finding that balance of wanting to win but also sticking to what we do.
“I think over the previous seasons we’ve managed to do that and take the occasion out of it and treat it like a normal game. We have to give United respect, at the moment they’re in great form so, for us, it’s just about concentrating on ourselves and producing a performance we’re all going to be proud of.”
Manchester bar Banyan is serving martini trees, pigs in blankets and cocktail baubles this Christmas
Cocktails in a bauble – have we got your attention now? Because Banyan is pulling out all the stops for us in Manchester this Christmas.
The gorgeous bar brand, which has sites in both Spinningfields and at the Corn Exchange, is delivery festive cheer like never before, with an amazing selection of offers.
First, let’s talk cocktails.
Banyan is already known and loved for its wide selection of boozy concoctions, with 2-for-1 deals aplenty with seemingly endless sweet, sour and fresh to choose from. But now, there’s a whole host of new festive specials to take full advantage of to add to the list.
We’re talking Orange Espresso Martini served by the tree and Bauble Trays full of exciting gin combinations served inside its namesake- both are ideal for sharing this winter.
If you’re looking for a bottomless option, there’s also plenty of scope to taste test the best of Banyan with free-flowing fizz this Christmas. The festive bottomless brunch menu serves up a combination of unlimited Prosecco, Bloody Mary cocktails, Aperol Spritz, Orange Blush Spritz, pints of Coors- and the limited edition Berry Crumble Spritz.
All this booze certainly needs some delicious foodie options to soak it all up, and there’s a mouthwatering festive feast that’ll trump your mum’s turkey dinner any day.
Served to a minimum of eight people at a time, take on a selection of Banyan classics like the Bang Bang chicken skewers and mini versions of the gourmet burgers, or stay true to the seasons with generous helpings of pigs in blankets, all served as a buffet-style dinner. This one’s perfect for Christmas office lunches, festive gatherings with friends or even just a wintry weekend get together with the family.
Naturally, those looking for a feast with their nearest and dearest might want an added level of privacy for a game or to disclose Secret Santa gifts, so Banyan is offering a range of private dining experiences in addition to all of these fantastic food and drink options.
If you love to celebrate the changing of the seasons with a carefully curated menu of festive flavours like brie, bacon or a good old fashioned Christmas pud, there’s also a host of treats awaiting at any of the Banyan restaurants.
Tis the season to make the most of porcini mushroom arancini oozing with cheese and roasted cod with creamy lobster sauce, and there’s plenty to go around. Banyan burgers have also had a festive makeover with a limited edition Christmas burger with all the trimmings, and you can grab one no matter whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan- there’s even a meat-free Festive Beyond Burger with a plant-based ‘pig’ in blanket on the menu.
To book your next visit to Manchester’s worst kept Christmas secret, visit the Banyan Bar website.