By Jacqueline Monahan
Ralph Breaks VR at The VOID in The Venetian
The VOID in Venetian’s St. Mark’s Square offers a new gateway into the hyper-reality virtual world with Ralph Breaks VR, inspired by the wildly successful film franchise that includes Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and its sequel Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018).
Now playing at all seven VOIDs across the U.S. and Canada, Ralph Breaks VR is the result of a collaboration between Walt Disney Animation Studios (initial creative concept) ILMxLAB, and The VOID (experiential design and effects). Creators collaborated with Ralph directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore and screenwriter Pamela Ribon, who wrote the dialogue for the VR experience. You just can’t get much more Ralph than that.
The clumsy but loveable arcade villain-gone-good is back and this time, YOU’RE in the room with him! John C. Reilly voices Ralph, while Sarah Silverman provides Vanellope von Schweetz, his glitch-prone sidekick, with her upbeat pipes. Ralph and Vanellope lead you and a group of three other disguised guests into the online world via an airborne shuttle that whizzes through a colorful and teeming cyber metropolis – not entirely glitch-free, mind you. What fun would that be?
Along the way, you’ll use a touchscreen and buttons to play a retro Space Invaders-type game in something called The Dunderdome. Afterward, Ralph gets kidnapped and everyone teams up to rescue him in the Pancakes and Milkshake Diner, armed with blasters that shoot…pancakes and milkshakes.
Unclear on the concept at first, your humble correspondent shot at a bound-to-the-ceiling Ralph instead of the bunnies and kittens holding him hostage. Points are scored for every creature hit, including some evil security B.E.V. drones (Built to Eradicate Viruses). Pump your blasters to switch ammo so you’ll know what it’s like to shoot both diner treats. They’re launched at you as well, and you’ll feel a slight vibration when hit. For back-story, search online for the arcade game Fun Bun and Puddles at Disney.wikia to understand why Ralph is their target.
Ralph's In Trouble!
Photo/Screenshot Credit: Elizabeth Walker
Want to know your score? Check your avatar’s left wrist for a holographic display, and total points are displayed on a screen at game’s end. Look at one of your fellow avatars as they speak, and you’ll see their cartoon lips mouthing the words (a first). It’s good to be aware of this before you go, because you’ll be enthralled by the astounding environment and forget to look at your fellow players.
Throughout the adventure, a series of doors and pathways open, leading your group to the next step/game/environment. At one point, high above the cyber-city, you’ll feel a breeze. Touch, press, and shoot your way through the 11-minute experience, which is wheelchair accessible and has age/height requirements of 10+ and 48”.
That’s what you’ll experience AFTER the sequence of events that get you prepped for the journey. They don’t let just anyone into the online world, you know.
Everyone must sign an electronic waiver, providing information like name, address, and birthday. You sign with your forefinger and are provided with an option to have the waiver sent to your email. Helpful VOID associates provide you with a QR code bracelet (pictured) and an empty lanyard that you populate with one of six cartoon avatar cards that you choose. Each avatar is a “netizen”.
You are shown a short film in which Ralph and Vanellope hint of the adventure to come inside the online world. Then, it’s on to the equipment that will take you there.
Directed to a hanging vest, you will slip it on and buckle it up in front. Two sets of cords, one under the arms and one at your side can be pulled to make it fit snugly. The vest has haptic capabilities, meaning it relates to the sense of touch. Get shot by a wayward pancake and your vest will let you know.
The VR helmet can be adjusted with top and back knobs that make it hug your head. The all-important visor can accommodate eyeglasses. Lower it to see your companions in cartoon avatar form, the one they chose earlier.
Helpful employees assist you with all phases of preparation, finally unhooking your vest so that you feel its impressive weight, almost like armor. You are escorted to a futuristic looking room that will soon become your gateway to gamer glory. Look, touch, and feel – VR makes it all so real.
Your Humble Correspondent as VR Warrior
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The VOID and ILMxLAB are working on new Disney experiences in the futures. No spoilers, but it’s sure to be MARVELous.
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Here’s a link to Las Vegas Round The Clock’s previous article on The VOID’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire VR experience:
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U.S. locations: Ralph Breaks VR
Orlando, FL - Anaheim, CA - Glendale, CA - Las Vegas, NV - Plano, TX,
(Additional U.S. - Lindon, UT – Santa Monica, CA)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Genting, Malaysia