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Future of Storytelling Pop-Up VR Arcade Is Coming to Manhattan

Manhattan is getting a location-based virtual reality (VR) pop-up, courtesy of Future of Storytelling: The temporary Story Arcade will open its doors in the Starrett-Lehigh building this coming Saturday, and host a number of VR experiences, including Felix & Paul Studio’s “Traveling While Black,” Fable’s “Wolves in the Walls” and MWM Immersive’s immersive theater VR production “Chained: A Victorian Nightmare.”

The Story Arcade space will be open to the public for about a month. Tickets can be reserved online, and start at $100, offering access to all experiences except “Chained.” Combo tickets that also include “Chained” are going for $150.

“Chained: A Victorian Nightmare” first premiered in Los Angeles in December. The Victorian era VR experience incorporates live actors, who improvise to create a unique story for each and every participant. “There is no pre-recorded dialogue of any kind,” said “Chained” creator Justin Denton in an interview with Variety in December. “No one will have the experience that you just had.”

“Traveling While Black” is a moving VR documentary about racism in America from Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, which is drawing a line from the risks African-American travelers were facing back in the 1950s to modern-day police violence. “We are still at risk when we are traveling around,” said Williams in a recent interview with Variety. “We are always on edge, we are always at risk when we walk out of the door in this country.”

“Wolves in the Walls” is a VR adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same title that also doubles as a first step towards autonomous avatars in VR. The experience’s main character Lucy interacts with the viewer, acknowledging their presence and treating them as her imaginary friend.

Other VR experiences shown as part of the Story Arcade include “Jurassic Flight,” a flight simulator that leverages a robotic motion platform, the U.S. premiere of “Algorithmic Perfumery,” the multi-sensory space travel VR experience “Cosmic Sleep,” “Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon,” a multi-sensory VR experience produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, and the civil rights VR documentary “I Am A Man.”

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