Thursday, 23 November 2017

Bristol kids | An afternoon of virtual reality fun at AirHop

AirHop is known to many a parent out there in Motherland's Bristol division. The biggest trampoline park in the world and located near Cribbs Causeway, it's one of those places where kids disappear to at weekends for drop off parties but with the bonus of you nipping to John Lewis for a free cup of Loyalty Card tea and a nice cake. AirHop is one of the good ones too - the kids REALLY want to go, they come back with a free pair of socks that delays the wash another day plus they're TOTALLY whacked due to a couple of hours bouncing around like muppets. Sunday morning lie-in? Thanks birthday party hosts!

So we all like AirHop. Yes, we have fears of (ssh) broken arms like we do with all trampoline-type things but that doesn't stop us from doing it, buying them for our back gardens or throwing kids on bouncy castles, does it? However if you ARE a bit tentative all things bounceable, welcome to AirHop's new venture - VR Concept. VR is big news in gaming circles these days, with Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR getting the headlines but that's still firmly in the world of 'proper' gaming and a £350+ pricepoint. VR Concept takes the 'wow' of VR gaming and puts it firmly in the family-oriented mainstream - i.e. slap bang in the middle of AirHop.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

And so we went to test it out - was this really for kids? Surely a six year-old (Stan), a seven-year old (Ted), an eight year-old (Flo), a ten-year old (Arthur) and two suitably childish adults (Lottie, Mike (hello)) would find that out. And we did - and it is. Helpful assistants (and we mean helpful - properly getting on kids' levels, talking to them like humans, *listening to them*) positioned the kids in their green screen booths, popped on the Oculous-style headsets and explained what was going to happen. Yes, there was a couple of 'Erm, how I do this' moments but everyone joined in.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

Arthur, Ted, Flo and Mike all did the medieval 'protect the castle' game where you defending your humour from ravaging hoards, using your virtual bow and arrow to take out suitably cartoon marauders.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

Stan and Lottie took on the VR version of popular iPhone app Fruit Ninja, slashing innocent oranges and bananas into bits to rack up the points - a slightly less sedate game than our medieval adventuring and all the better for it.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

Everything at VR Concept was competitive, nothing was too violent (unless you really love bananas) and we all genuinely loved it. Yes, there's still a few glitches (this was a launch week building on the successful trial week back in July) but those helpful AirHop assistants were always on hand to help you out - necessary especially given the '£5 for 5 minutes' pricepoint but a good thing.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

After our immersion into the future, we donned our Halloween-themed socks and headed for the trampolines. AirHop has had a bit of a revamp over the summer - everything looks super clean and fresh with the various activities (Dodgeball, Basketball Slam Dunk, Wipeout and Battle Beam) all refreshed and well run - we've all been to tatty soft plays on rainy Bank Holidays and this is certainly several steps up from that experience.

AirHop Bristol AirVR virtual reality trampoline park

Conclusion: The kids love it, we loved it and despite the MASSIVE SUGAR RUSH that we had after with the now-traditional blue/red Slushee mix, everyone slept like logs that night. Will VR ever replace that visceral thrill of just bouncing bouncing, shoes all in a line? It's an unfair comparison - both offer different thrills and our kids loved BOTH experiences, seeing no reason to choose between them. All I know is Airhop has both of these options, we had mad slushies and we all wore our skeleton socks to bed.

Written by Mike

About AirHop

AirHop Bristol is the world's biggest trampoline park, located at Unit 5 Britannia Road, Patchway, 
Bristol BS34 5TA. There are also parks at Guildford and (coming soon) Solihull and Croydon.

AirVR is based within AirHop Bristol and costs are additional to AirHop pricing.

Peak (Saturday and Sunday):
15 minutes – £12.00

Off-Peak (Monday to Friday, excluding school/bank holidays):
15 minutes – £10.00

Monday to Thursday – 10am to 9pm
Friday & Saturday – 10am to 10pm
Sunday – 10am to 8pm

These are the games you can choose from:
Fruit Ninja
Google Earth VR
Serious Sam: The Last Hope (18+)
Longbow (The Lab)
Richie Plank’s Experience

With thanks to AirHop for inviting us to try AirVR!

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