If you enjoyed “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” you’ll want to be sure to check out the virtual reality experience “Ralph Breaks VR” now open at The VOID Experience Centers at both Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World.
Following the premise of the “Ralph Breaks the Internet” film, “Ralph Breaks VR” plays with the storyline of video game characters sneaking into the internet. Players of the VR game become animated characters and are immersed in a series of virtual adventures.
I was recently given the chance to preview the new VR experience. As a huge fan of “Wreck It Ralph,” I was pretty excited for my first time doing VR. But as I was climbing into the life-jacket vest that was hanging from the ceiling, I began to have some pre-game jitters. As a helmet was literally screwed into position on my head, I realized that it might be pretty difficult, walking around in a room similar to a laser tag arcade with three total strangers, wielding a plastic video game gun. On top of that, there was not being able to see the physical room around me — only the virtual representation of it.
But after strapping on the VR headset and haptic vest, I was carefully led into the opening hall and instructed to shut my visor as I was immersed into the VR world with Ralph and Vanellope as my guide.
I am happy to report that once the game started, the interface of the VR was seamless! Soon I was playing a virtual game of whack-a-mole on a virtual wall in an attempt to overload a circuit to gain access to the internet. Once “inside” the internet we were off to play Ralph’s favorite game, “Dunder Dome.”
While this was a hit among the other players in my group, this was my least favorite game. A throwback to classic video and arcade games, anyone familiar with that style of game will probably love the new medium. But, as someone who wasn’t allowed to play video games growing up, I was totally lost. I had no idea what buttons I was supposed to press, where I was supposed to be shooting, or if I was even standing in the right room. I was happy when we moved on and were given the task of protecting Ralph from a diner filled with vicious (but really cute) virus-detecting bunnies and kittens. This is when you really start to feel like you are a part of your own story, and not just participating in a long interactive preview for the new movie.
Within the virtual game you get a lot of the same experiences you would at one of the theme parks’ “4D” attractions. Much like the sensations and scents you experience on Soarin’ Around the World, for example, once inside the VR game you can smell the syrup from the pancakes (that conveniently double as projectiles for part of the game). You also feel the whoosh of wind as you are guided along the shops and chat rooms that make up the city-like landscape that is the internet.
In the table discussion following my preview of the game, lead experience designer Jose Perez III confirmed that Ralph Breaks VR isn’t meant to replicate the storyline of Ralph Breaks the Internet, but still gives plenty of nods to the movie that can give you a higher score when playing the game.
“Other than keeping the characters true to what they are doing in the film, our story is completely different,” he noted. “With the VOID, it is really about the experience and strengthening the themes of the story. Which is about friendship. It (Ralph Breaks VR) just brings out that competitive kind of friendliness. A lot of the assets in that experience came directly from the film. But there are things that happen completely differently based on how you play. An example (and pro tip): if you shoot the bunnies with the pancakes you get more points than if you shoot them with milkshakes, because the ‘bunny gets the pancake and the kitty gets the milkshake.’ The pancakes can go pretty far, but the milkshakes have a splash radius so you can hit multiple things. So we’ve got all of these fun little goofy things, where the more you play it, the more you’ll realize that there is a depth underneath all of it.”
Director of the story Tracy Hickman said that when they were deciding how to build the narrative for the new game, “the real challenge was: How do we create an experience so that you believe you are there? How do we create a narrative where you’re convinced that you’ve met Vanellope and Ralph and have gone on a trip with them? It’s a level of immersion that’s deeper than the screen.”
As for taking people into this virtual version of the Internet, Perez said, “It feels like a place we’ve been, but we’ve never been. We do this really funny thing that I think is similar to what they do with Star Wars. Basically you start toward the top of the internet and as you get toward the button, you are getting into more of the dark web type stuff. And all of that kind of matrix effect actually is from the movie. I’m not sure where exactly they got the ideas (for the age/style of internet to represent), but I think they just went for wherever looked funny and was a good fit. And we just tried to really hit that scene.”
“Ralph Breaks VR” is being offered at The VOID Experience Centers at Disney locations, alternating with the previously released “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.” Tickets range from $29.95 to $36.95, varying by location, and can be pre-ordered from The VOID.
DISCLAIMER: AllEars.Net was a guest of Disney at this experience, but that did not affect our report; our opinions are our own.
Can’t get enough of Ralph and Vanellope? You can actually meet them while you’re in Epcot at the Character Spot. Or you can play in the new “Ralph Breaks the Internet” Family Play Zone near Epcot’s Test Track. And if you want to take home your very own Ralph plush, or other related merchandise, check out what’s available at Disney Parks here.
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