Attractions Magazine 13th January 2023 - The Leeds Playground offers both co-operative and competitive experiences. Players can harness their inner space marine to find the Energy Crystal in Mission Planet X, fight zombies in The Hallow, or put their bravery to the test in Don’t Scream. The Park Playground designs and builds all of its own VR experiences, and already operates 11 franchised venues globally. Their second U.K. location will be opening in Birmingham. They’re planning one more U.K. attraction in the Manchester/Liverpool area.
We sent The Kennedys, our UK family reporters, to check it out. Steve and his son Alex run a popular Bricklaying YouTube channel. They attended along with Alex’s sister Sarah. Here’s a video overview and interview with The Park Playground’s CEO Peter Vindevogel, followed by Alex’s report:
We were recently invited to check out The Park Playground at their new location in Leeds, England. The new location features some unique Virtual Reality (VR) games including Don’t Scream, which measures your audio output against other players.
“The Park Playground in Leeds was easy to find and parking was good as we parked right outside the building. When we entered, we saw posters of the main VR attractions as we headed up the stairs. Just before entering the main area, there are toilets and free lockers to store loose belongings with symbol-coded lockers and keys so you don’t forget which locker you’re using.
“As you enter the main area, there is a bar area serving beverages (including alcohol) and a lounge to chill out at while you wait to go onto the “playing field”. There are also single player VR setups so you can have a go at some smaller VR games to pass the time and get used to the feeling of VR.
“When it was our time, we were called up to “the field”, the main open space where you experience the larger group VR experiences. We watched a safety introduction video on how to properly use and put on the VR equipment and how to behave while in the experience. It was all clear to understand and staff were there to answer any questions.
“After the induction, we were taken to the field and get suited up. You only have the VR headset and controllers, there is no clunky or heavy backpacks or other equipment, as the ceiling in the field has all the sensors, so you’re free to roam within the boarders, which helps add to the immersion of the experience. As you play, staff are always on standby if you have any issues and are ready to help at a moments notice.
“After playing the first experience, we got a drink and sat in the lounge while we waited and got to try another small experience to the side called “Richie’s Plank Experience”, a fun little game which you walk on a real plank and experience fun and thrilling sensations in the VR world. We also had a few games on the single player VR games.
“We then did our second experience on “the field” and another introduction like the first time. The bigger VR experience was very immersive and was really fun, depending on cooperation and puzzle solving. Finally we finished with a Belgian waffle and went for a meal at one of the many restaurants just across the road.
“Overall the whole experience at The Park Playground was absolutely amazing. The staff are super friendly and helpful, the games themselves are really fun, and the way it’s being done is for everyone, from children to adults, depending on the experiences. With it being brand new, there were obviously some minor bugs with the system, but they’ll be polished and fixed in time. It didn’t take away from the experience. I’d highly recommend The Park Playground for anyone looking to have a fun day out with friends or family.”