Jacqueline Monahan



By Jacqueline Monahan

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Star Wars™: Secrets of the Empire at The VOID/Venetian Puts You IN the Action

Just the other day your humble correspondent annihilated a huge insect-like monster and dozens of Imperial Stormtroopers on the fiery planet Mustafar. Armed with one blaster each, our team of four battled valiantly, perched over a river of molten lava, then sneaking throughout the many corridors of an enemy ship, and finally into a cargo hold where we encountered none other than Darth Vader, whom we left in a fierce rage after successfully completing our mission and escaping with much-needed intelligence back to our rebel command.

This deep space adventure took place at The VOID, located at St. Mark’s Square within The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Las Vegas. The VOID is a location-based virtual reality interactive experience that puts the guest INTO the film. There are no spectators here. The attraction, open to the public as of April 27, 2018, promises to be one of the jewels in the Las Vegas crown of must-see attractions.

Photo Credit: Patrick Gray/Kabik Photo Group

A global leader of immersive location-based experiences (also in Orlando, Anaheim, London, Dubai, Toronto, Glendale, CA and Lindon, UT) The VOID teamed with ILMxLAB – Lucasfilm’s (as in George Lucas) immersive entertainment division to develop the hyper-reality attraction, Star Wars™: Secrets of the Empire. Talk about a marriage made in (virtual) heaven. The VOID and ILMxLAB could probably make that location possible too.

Flanked by Stormtroopers.

Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID, Janet LaFevre, Senior Marketing Manager of General Growth Properties, Mark Miller, Executive Creative Producer of ILMxLAB

Photo Credit: Patrick Gray/Kabik Photo Group

Physical and virtual worlds intertwine in its collaborators’ newest attraction, as teams of four guests infiltrate an imperial base to steal critical intelligence for the rebellion. To do this they are outfitted as Stormtroopers themselves. They acquire weapons and face enemy attacks. Staying alive has never been this much fun. Believe your eyes because you are actually living, feeling, and even breathing this experience.

Photo Credit: Patrick Gray/Kabik Photo Group

The preferred reservation for this “multi-sensory interactive adventure” is online. After picking a date and time, you stroll along St. Mark’s Square in the Venetian with its coffee and ice cream/gelato shops, its elegant restaurants and fashionable clothing and accessory boutiques, until you get to The VOID, situated just across one of the two footbridges that span the interior canal full of passing gondolas.

After checking in, you are escorted to a type of prep-room where you are fastened into high-tech head and body gear (heavy, but worth it for the effects you will encounter). A visored, VR helmet incorporates an Ocular Rift VR headset and an almost jet-pack-like vest with a 20-pound backpack attached (mobile PC). These secure you into another world as you and your team transform into white-clad storm troopers. The mobile PCs allow for a wireless remote VR experience. The vest vibrates for tactile feedback and the VR blasters (think intergalactic submachine gun) spray deadly white bolts of destruction. Guests must be 10 years of age or older.

Prepping for Battle

Photo Credit: John Hardin

You will encounter and feel the heat from a monster-filled lava lake, shoot at scores of Stormtroopers (you have a color band so that other rebels can recognize you) and encounter Darth Vader at his most badass. Will you complete the mission? You won’t want to, because that means your VR “trip” is over.

All this food and no way to eat!

Photo Credit: John Hardin

Throughout the experience, you will make narrow escapes, encounter turbulence, and your vest will vibrate with impact when you are “hit” by enemy fire. You will likely exclaim “awesome!” so much that the word will be meaningless. And finally you will know what it’s like to live the life of a character in a George Lucas film, one who lived long, long ago in a …

Perhaps that galaxy might not be so far, far away after all.