Big screen comes to life at new VR center in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Innovation is now on full display in the South Bay with the unveiling of Spaces, the region's first immersive virtual reality entertainment center.

"It's pretty amazing," said San Jose resident Albert Maglines. "All your senses are being engaged."

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The center opened this past week inside Cinemark's Century 20 theaters at Westfield Oakridge Mall in San Jose. It's the company's third location worldwide - Irvine and Tokyo are the other two.

"We wake up thinking about the future we've read about in science fiction and seeing it on TV," said Spaces CEO and Co-Founder Shiraz Akmal, whose team spent six years developing the concept. "We said to ourselves... we can build that."

"Termination Salvation: Fight for the Future" is the first experience on deck. The set features dozens of motion tracking cameras and sensors, all centered in a future, apocalyptic Los Angeles, with players going up against killer robots while being suited up in virtual reality gear from head-to-toe.

"The world shakes. The ground moves beneath you. There's wind, heat from explosions, and water effects. It's completely immersive," said Akmal.

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Streaming services such as Netflix have made it relatively easy for people to stay in for the night, but the new Spaces experience aims to get folks off the couch and back into theaters.

"I'm definitely afraid of heights, so that last moment of us walking out, there's air on the floor, and you're going to fall in, that was definitely the scariest part," said Hayward resident Mariah Wilks.

Admission ranges from $20 to $30 per person depending on the day. Tickets can be purchased online at cinemark.com/spaces.

"There's bots shooting at you, so you definitely feel like you're in the experience," said San Jose resident Jennifer Martinez.
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