MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new 40,000-square-foot virtual reality arcade is now open at Mall of America.
The arcade’s founder, Shripal Morakhia, decided MOA was the perfect spot to expand his business – called Smaaash.
Besides virtual reality, you will also find a multi-level go-kart track.
If you can score five soccer goals in a row, you win a real Harley Davidson motorcycle. It is a lot harder than it looks.
There is also a hockey game where you can also win a Harley. In fact, two people won Harleys playing that game on Tuesday alone!
But the real star attractions are unique virtual reality games, ranging from shooting, to driving, to a roller coaster whose track you can design yourself — and it feels like you’re riding the real thing.
Another virtual reality attraction is called “Vertigo.” You stand on a spongy beam, and when you strap on the virtual reality glasses you feel like you are rising. Suddenly, you are hundreds of feet above the street, walking on a beam between two buildings to rescue a cat. Participants wear a harness, and nearly everyone falls off the beam.
“That’s what virtual reality is all about,” Morakhia said.
He was a successful investment banker and movie producer, but he decided to change his life after a series of health setbacks.
“I have a pacemaker in my heart and I suffer from Parkinson’s,” Morakhia said. “And somewhere in life, I wanted kids and families to do what they missed out on — and that was playing.”
Morakhia and his creative team are constantly working on new virtual reality attractions, he says the ones featured now will all be different in six months.
“If we have scared you, then we have done our jobs well [laughs]!” he said.
SMAAASH also features a bar and full restaurant. Prices range from $50 for a VIP pass — which includes one go-kart ride and unlimited access to all other attractions — to $5 for a single virtual reality attraction.
Source: CBS Minnesota
Image: Esme Murphy rides the virtual roller coaster at Smaaash (credit: CBS)