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Getting into a gaming

Headspace Lakewood is home to metro area's first VR arcade


Soto Nest and his brother Aaron work their way through a room, dodging bad guys, dispatching enemies and working together to finish the level.

But the real room they’re standing in is a dimly lit room on West Colfax with headsets over their eyes, and controllers in their hands.

They’re playing at Head Games VR, the metro area’s first entirely virtual reality arcade, located at 9655 W. Colfax Ave., Unit C.

“I tried Google to see if there were any VR places around and found this,” Nest said. “I just wanted to try it out and see what it’s like. It’s pretty exciting its here.”

Head Games is the brainchild of Victoria Merchant, a Lakewood entrepreneur who was looking for a new kind of family space.

“I originally thought about some kind of escape room, but then started getting into virtual reality,” Merchant explained. “A lot of people are looking for this kind of gaming experience, but accessibility is hard, because the machinery costs a lot.”

The way the virtual reality gaming experience works at Head Games is gamers put on headsets that take the player into a three dimensional world where they can pick from a range of games, including Richie’s Plank, Superhot and Rec Room. There are games for all levels of players — adventure, first person shooters, and even a job simulator.

The business’ chief operation officer, Nathan Hostetler, got involved after falling in love with virtual reality after just one experience with it. He helped to build the computers that power the three headsets Head Games currently has.

“The experience is best when you come with friends,” he said. “You get to travel to different worlds, not as a lone traveler, but by working together with people you like.”

Gamers can rent a headset for $35 an hour, or can rent the entire facility for parties. And Merchant is already working toward getting more headsets and games for customers. Head Games is also expanding into family nights and tournaments.

Business has been steady, and word is spreading about the immersive environments players can sample.

“Come with the highest expectations,” Merchant said. “We’ll still blow them away.”


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