Showcase VR has celebrated a year of virtual reality in the city – and staff say the past 12 months have been “incredible”.
Based at Showcase the Street in Manhattan Works, Showcase VR marked its first birthday last Friday after a year of creating opportunities for local kids – and adults.
Headed up by virtual reality development officer Raymond Chan, the centre holds a number of after school clubs where locals not only get the chance to play exciting VR games where they are fully immersed in a virtual world, but they also learn the behind the scenes work that goes into creating games.
Raymond said: “It has been an incredible year and I have to thank all our customers and staff as they have been absolutely fantastic.
“I can’t say there has been one highlight over the past year – there have been lots of amazing little moments such as seeing people come into the arcade for the first time and watching their faces.
“The great thing about Showcase VR over the past year is that we have been able to get young people engaged in technology and finding a pathway that they enjoy while showing them that it can be a career path in the future if they want it to be.”
Raymond added: “It doesn’t just have to be programming or coding. We also work on the more creative side at our clubs including sound, story boards and creating characters.”
Staff at Showcase have also worked hard to ensure children from all backgrounds are given the opportunity to experience VR.
Young Start, a National Lottery programme, has been funding after school groups to enable as many kids as possible to get their chance in the virtual arcade.
Raymond added: “The funding from Young Start has enabled kids who would maybe never have got the chance to attend Showcase VR or who maybe aren’t even able to play games at home to become involved.
“It has been an opportunity to show people that virtual reality can be used for many things, such as training for jobs.
“In the next year we are hoping that we will be able to bring VR into the wider community and take it to places such as care homes.
“I am quite a nerd so it is absolutely fantastic that I have been able to get this opportunity with Showcase.”
The club celebrated its achievements over the past 12 months with a party on Friday night, complete with a specially made cake.