A swarm of monster bugs are running toward towards me and I’m frantically shooting at them, all while trying to ignore the fact that I’m standing right at the edge of a skyscraper. As someone with acrophobia, this is the stuff of nightmares.
Except I wasn’t just having a bad dream – I was in the middle of a Sandbox VR game called Amber Sky 2088, perched on top of a tall building, shooting at hostile creatures trying to take over the earth. Lucky for me, my game partner Steve Zhao had already been through this hundreds of times – he instructed me to hold up my shield as he calmly obliterated the enemy one by one.
Zhao is the founder and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Sandbox VR, which specialises in creating immersive, hyperrealistic virtual reality games.
But instead of creating consumer VR games like those for a Playstation VR console, for example, Sandbox is one of a few companies in the world that specialises in creating location-based VR games – which means players go to a bricks-and-mortar location to experience a game instead of playing it at home.