The full-scale Gundam statue was removed from its place in Daiba back in March, leaving a hole in my heart. The last thing I imagined after its removal was that I would get a chance to ride it, much less ride in its hand.
Gundam VR Daiba Assault is part of the VR ZONE SHINJUKU, where fans can live out their fantasy of interacting with the full-scale Gundam statue. You don’t get to actually pilot the Gundam, but there are numerous video games for that and other VR attractions for similar experiences.
The experience starts out as all other VR experiences with you getting all your gear set up. Like most of the other attractions at VR ZONE SHINJUKU, Gundam VR uses the HTC Vive. What makes Gundam VR unique is that it VR world interaction comes in the form of a chair set up like a Gundam’s hand.
You start out the experience standing facing the VR chair. In the VR world, you are transported to in front of the full-scale Gundam statue in Daiba. You’re suddenly attacked from behind by a Zaku that begins peppering the Gundam with bullets from its machine gun. The platform is made to vibrate and shake accordingly as the bullets hit the ground around you. The whole thing is rather harrowing.
As fans of the original Mobile Suit Gundam well know, the Gundam is impervious to a Zaku machine gun and the bullets bounce off harmlessly. Not so impervious, however, is you, and you’re treated to a veritable shower of warped metal bullets that come raining down from above.
Sensing the danger, the Gundam crouches down and a familiar voice tells you to get on its hand. You sit on its palm and then the fun really starts.
The hand/seat shakes and lurches as the two mobile suits go for close-quarters combat with their weapons. There’s a heater that simulates the heat you feel as the Gundam’s beam saber and Zaku’s “heat hawk” clash.
The battle between the two titans ends as you might expect and you’re lowered back down to the ground. All in all, it’s a lot of fun. While the whole experience is much less you affecting the virtual world than the virtual world affecting you, it’s a thrilling ride from start to finish. There were moments when I genuinely felt in danger. While being on the Gundam’s hand during the fight with the Zaku was pretty scary, I can think of worse places to be—like in the Zaku, for instance.
For more information on Gundam VR Daiba Assault and the other games at VR ZONE SHINJUKU, check out the official website. VR ZONE SHINJUKU will open for business on July 14, 2017. Tickets are on sale now.
In addition to VR ZONE SHINJUKU, a second location, VR ZONE LONDON, has been announced. However, the VR game lineup is currently undetermined.