Myself and a mate were recently invited to try out the new Other World gaming bar on Bennett’s Hill in Birmingham city centre.
It’s usually £18pp which gives you an allocated time of game play.
Upon entry, some will recognise this space as the former wine/cocktail bar which was short lived. The premises have been empty up until now.
Walking in feels a more akin to an episode of Tomorrow’s World 1984. With white walls, sofas and bar.
We were greeted by a helpful member of staff the staff, dressed in whites robes like some space-age guru, who walked us through downloading and installing the Dreamport app which players need to store the DreamCoin which is collected through the adventure to be spent at the bar afterwards.
You can also check the leaderboards, and explore a map of the island so you can get familiar with the experiences beforehand.
Once we had been given our briefing, we were led downstairs into a basement full of pods that look similar to tanning studios, inside, we were helped on with our headsets and then the games commenced.
The instructions are a bit difficult to take in all in one go, and I decided to wing it once inside the game. We did have help on hand via our headsets from the games master who gave us hints and tips on game play.
Graphics are as good as it gets, and our first game seemed to be more about exploring buildings and streets with police chasing people down, with mad alien monsters roaming around the city and above the streets. The details of game play and options for interaction were superb, there is so much to take in and test out. One word of warning though, if you’ve ever played Meetspace VR, just try and remember you can’t run around as I did, and hit the inside of the pod. It did take some getting used to as you run or walk by using the wands in hands.
The next game was a zombie apocalypse and equally as enthralling, out in the desert shooting the shit out of oncoming zombies, which my mate certainly enjoyed. There is an element of sleuth to this as well, which breaks up the play. Something that stood out is the effect of heat and cold during game play which adds to the real-life feeling of walking around a desert or inside a cold house.
When game-play ended we were led back upstairs to use the virtual bar, similar to automated wine dispensers this system allows you to pour your own pint, a bit messy but good fun.
One thing that did stand out weirdly, was the automated toilets, electronic seats and an automated voice welcoming you.
In all, this is a fab and fun addition to Brum’s bar scene and feels so slick that you could imagine it’s set up as a Google experiment. This is, i believe the London brand’s flagship bar.
Check it out before it gets booked up!
Words by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.