Rhode Island Logo


Get In the Game, Literally, At Base Station Virtual Reality Lounge

By Pamela Sosnowski

You can play a two-dimensional video game at home on any number of at-home gaming systems. Or, you can immerse yourself in the world virtual reality and become lost in a three-dimensional world. Base Station VR Lounge (BSVR) of Providence specializes in the latter, and owner and Nidal Battikha is predicting that his virtual reality gaming center is just one of many that will soon be cropping up around the country.

"This truly is the future of entertainment, something immersive, something that draws you into a different 'reality' and lets you escape this one for a little while," he said. "It's very easy to forget where and when you are, something that you can't do with any other media or entertainment format. It's the next step from getting lost in books or movies."

For an average rate of $39 an hour, customers can visit the Thayer Street lounge, slip on a headset that will enable them to battle zombies, try to escape a haunted house, or fly like their favorite superhero characters. In recent decades, virtual reality has elevated the video game experience from viewing a two-dimensional screen to being surrounded by a 3D environment that you can interact with. At BSVR, each gaming "station" or room is eight by eight feet, allowing players to actually walk around and move versus sitting down.

"It's far from a flat screen or even some of the 360 photos/videos you can find on phones or online," Battikha said. "You feel like you're there; your brain is "tricked" into thinking it is somewhere else, on a plank suspended 160 meters above the ground, in an alley shooting zombies, or a dojo shooting with a bow and arrow."

The games allow for up to four multiple players per station and themes range from those suitable for kids (Battikha says the child-friendly virtual realities are suitable for children ages 9 and up) to heart-pounding scenarios for grown-ups. There are also puzzle-themed games to get players thinking and solving problems.

BSVR opened in downtown Providence in June 2017 and already has become a popular destination for date night, school vacation week, girls (or guys) night out, corporate outings, and more. The reviews have all been rave ones, particularly from parents who enjoyed seeing the delight on their child's face when experiencing virtual reality for the first time. BSVR can also be rented for parties and groups.

The one drawback to this innovative entertainment is the rare case of motion sickness. Battikha, who says he's sensitive to condition himself, offers a free demo for customers to give virtual reality a try and see how it affects them. Although most experiences should not trigger it, he will warn if an experience might.

BSVR is open Wednesday through Sunday, and reservations may be made through the site at basestationvr.com. Battikha, who was wowed by his own personal experience with virtual reality, always enjoys introducing it to new customers and creating new fans.

"The best part of the job is the look on people's faces and their verbal reactions (things like 'wow' and 'can you guys see what I'm seeing?') when they are experiencing virtual reality," he said. "My own reaction was very much the same and I felt that it was something that needed to be shared and experienced by others."

Share this:


Leave a comment:

* Login in order to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join for Free

About The Author

Become an Expert Contributor

Have some knowledge to share, and want easy and effective exposure to our audience? Get your articles or guides featured on Rhode Island Homes today! Learn more about being an expert contributor.

Learn More