ELKO – Enter one of Elko’s new ventures and discover a world (or worlds) you may not have known existed. Put on a helmet, a pair of hand controls and find yourself suddenly transported to a new reality. There are opportunities to fight, play drums, tend kittens, be part of a zombie apocalypse, or experience what it’s like to be a pirate bartender.
Owner Brandon Killion, a hip young Elkoan, explained to me, a middle-aged, far from hip journalist, how the company got started.
“I wanted to bring VR to people,” Killion said. “I have a bunch of games and experiences.”
He spoke of an underwater experience where water rides over your body and ocean creatures parade in a colorful array.
“You put the mask on and it puts you right into this world,” Jane Killion said. “You see whales and fish.”
It sounded interesting, but I still didn’t really “get it”.
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The arcade has a “stage” where an individual can play. Brandon staged a stage with a soft floor and lit with daytime running lights.
“I wanted to do this for six or seven years. Now everything is together. I had to do a lot of research on hardware and games.
Brandon “loves” technology.
“I was told that I disassembled computers when I was six years old.”
I’m ready to roll and try this “gaming” stuff. Brandon helps me put on my gear. He thinks I should try “Job Simulator”, apparently an ironic experiment in learning to “work” as it used to be.
“It’s very ‘jokey’, it’s like a parody of how robots think humans have done things,” Brandon said.
The “experiment” begins. I was offered several jobs and I chose Office Worker.
Suddenly, I start my first day at work in a tiny office cubicle in a skyscraper in the unexpected future. Vehicles drive past the building in an otherworldly sky.
I listen to my new boss, a robot who speaks in a jerky, monotonous manner.
A floating briefcase appears. I have no idea how to open it. After finally understanding the strategy, I pull out a map. It takes me a few more minutes to find the slot in my cubicle where I insert it. Project directions for Assignment 1 manifest before my eyes. I am told to turn on the computer and log in. The screen is blank. After a few puzzles, I discover that the computer is not plugged in. That helps. Next, I’m looking for an enigmatic button that’s supposed to turn on the machine. It works but I don’t know how to connect.
Around this time, a donut cart whirls past my head, unescorted. I help myself, bringing a colorful computer-generated pastry to my mouth. After donut number two, my throat seems dry, so I look for some kind of drink dispenser. Luckily, a coffee maker sits to my right on the desk. It doesn’t seem to work. I find that the whole business of plugging things in has to be done first. I grab a mug with the words “I LOVE MY JOB” on it. I hate coffee, I’m a tea drinker. There’s no one to ask me if I can have some tea. I fill my cup with coffee. I eye the black mud that I “virtually” swallow.
It’s now around 10:30 a.m., I haven’t done anything. I finally manage to log in and delete a task from the “to-do list”.
I look around me, lost. Suddenly the flying briefcase appears and I manage to pull out homework two and insert it. It tells me to pull out a file of potential employees (i.e. possible replacements for myself.) I’m having trouble opening the workbook. I go through the competition carefully.
Then the phone rings. I take it and I hear static. I press a button. Nothing. I hang up the receiver.
Suddenly, a sandwich cart hovers near my face, exacerbating my already shaken nerves. He won’t leave until I take a sample. Again, I need a drink. Back to the coffee machine. I put my cup down, but it wobbles on the edge and the coffee spills everywhere. This is when the boss comes up to me out of the blue and finds himself totally “in my space”, a few centimeters away from me.
I don’t understand a word “he” said other than “human”. Before I know it, the boss (who never mentioned my name or thanked me) is gone and the floating briefcase returns.
I am looking for duty three. I’m having trouble holding the briefcase while I’m looking for my card. In the meantime, I bump into a bookshelf, scattering books and a potted plant on the floor.
It’s around 1:45 p.m. I’ve made absolutely no progress. My patience is broken. I grab a clean mug and press the coffee pot again. A bottle of cream powder “apparently” jumps off me and falls to the ground, spilling most of its contents. I have no way to clean up the mess.
I struggle again with the briefcase. Finally, I get an assignment card. It won’t fit in the slot. I am dumbfounded. There is no one to call for help. I throw the card away and stare dejectedly at the computer.
The boss walks inches from my face and gives me a pre-recorded speech about how well I’m doing. I feel worthless.
At that point I’m ready for a ‘real drink’, but alcoholic beverages are not available, and probably banned here, even though ‘I wouldn’t know anything’ about the rules of this office where I seem to be all alone. No one explained the rules to me. I opt for coffee.
It is now 3:17 p.m. A sign appears and says to me: “Human, get to work!
I am not amused. I’m looking for something I can pretend to do. I try to type on the computer. A “smiling bobblehead” sits nearby, with a deceptively encouraging “smile” on its face. Alas, the computer only has two keys! Stunned, I wonder what kind of sick person created this torture chamber.
I feel like I’ve lost my mind.
Of course, “now” the boss comes in with a dark look on “his” face. “It” begins to shout something at me in a high pitched voice.
What am I supposed to do? I don’t understand the supervisor, nothing in this office works and there is no purpose in life.
I try to grab my boss to give him concrete instructions, but my hand only “slices” his robotic face. Perplexed, I step back and crash into the coffee pot, “virtually” damaging my dress and burning myself. Sugar spills from an overturned dispenser and mixes with the coffee, creating a syrupy paste.
The working day is a total disaster. I’m confused and laughing.
It’s 4:21 a.m. I stop! It’s one of the most satisfying decisions I’ve made in a long time.
The other fun part of this storyline is that Brandon and a few others got to watch me on a screen in my virtual world committing all these office weaknesses. They also crack.
I’m back on planet Earth, but I can’t wait to dive into a zombie apocalypse. However, it is 5:30 p.m. in real time and I have to go back to my “real work”, which is great fun, but not as hysterical as the simulated one.
Sessions can be booked online for Pure Immersions. Walk-ins are also welcome. I know I will be back. We’ll see each other there.
Improved 911: when will it finally arrive in Elko? :
Improved 911: when will it finally arrive in Elko?