Avengers: Damage Control is the latest virtual reality experience from The Void. The Void is a mixed reality entertainment company that makes and designs experiences based off of popular intellectual properties. This has included Ghostbusters, Star Wars, and Ralph Breaks the Internet. These experiences are a mix of virtual reality and mapped out physical environments that allows the user to truly get immersed in the experience. I had the opportunity to participate in Avengers: Damage Control which was both incredibly impressive and satisfied my craving for all things Marvel.
To lock down a spot, my fiance Ana and I signed up on The Void’s website a week in advance. The VR physical environment was set up in NYC within the World Trade Center station. It was a walled off area in the middle of the station right after getting off the subway which we found incredibly convenient. Once there, we signed in for our set appointment. It was packed with people moving in and out and others fruitlessly trying to sign up due to all the spots being filled.
We waited in the front room of the pop up space. The one wall was almost entirely a window which allowed us to see the docks for the VR gear and other customers setting off on their Avengers adventure.. It was then our turn to jump into the mixed virtual reality experience.
We were called up and paired up with two adventurers who were in NYC on business from London. After quick introductions, we were brought into a small side room where we were briefed on our mission. We chose the colors that would highlight our VR suits within the Damage Control world and were then moved into the windowed area where we had seen other people putting on the technology.
We first had to strap on a computer backpack which housed most of the technology that made the experience possible. It weighed between 10-20 lbs but was fairly comfortable as it was held on by a fully buckled chest piece. Next, we put on our headsets and were shown how to adjust them. It was fairly simple and similar to a PSVR. Once we were set up, we were ushered into the next room.
Here, we put our headsets on and the magic began. Through the headset, I could see Ana and our two new European Avenger friends in our chosen colored suits. The suit was a mix of Ironman and Wakandan technology and looked the part. My jaw dropped as I could see my arms move in my own advanced technological suit. The finger movement was fairly accurate through the sensors and motion tracking that must have existed in the room and our backpack hardware.
Warning: The next part of the article will explore more of the technological impressions on the experience that will contain spoilers for the story. I’ll also jump into the plot for my fellow Marvel junkies.
The VR Technology
All of us were impressed looking at each other, moving, and interacting with the walls in the room. A door opened and we were instructed to move into the next room. Ana and I high-fived and then followed our fellow Avengers in training. Moving room-to-room or environment-to-environment was incredible as when we saw things – railings, walls, a steering wheel – we could touch and feel them. When there was an explosion, we would feel a hot blast of heat. At one point, a bucket of popcorn was brought on screen by Antman and the smell of butter filled the room.
The physical mapping was incredible and I really wish I could go through the experience without the headset as well to see what the actual environment looked like. One of the most impressive parts to me was flying through the air on a Quinjet while fighting enemies. This is because there were two of us in different Quinjets. We started with our new London friends in a ship then Ana and I moved to a new one that was to the right. Ana piloted the ship while I blasted enemies out of the sky. At one point during the fighting, their ship swung over to the right of ours. The crazy part is that this room did not physically move as we flew through the air. I tried to wrap my head around this as I knew physically the two were to my left in the original ship but were now appearing far off to the right.
Moving away from the technological aspect, the plot revolves around a new technology made by Shuri which is a mashup of Ironman and Black Panther gear. We arrived at a training facility where Shuri began to brief us about how we will be training in the suits. During the briefing small system glitches occurred, hinting at something going wrong. This foreshadowed the return of an old Avengers villain. As the training progressed, we were suddenly attacked by Ultron in the form of a robotic army.
This is where the attacking actions came into play. Holding up our arms allowed us to shoot out a repulsor ray. I could shoot the repulsors simultaneously in different directions from each arm. Both hands could be used together to fire a stronger blast and holding our fist up with our forearms out created a shield.
As we were battling the Ultron drones, a familiar portal opened up to the sanctum of Dr. Strange. Strange briefed us on what was happening, the importance of stopping Ultron, and how we were one of Earth’s last hopes. Another interesting note is that the events of Infinity War and End Game were referenced, clearly putting the plot after both movies.
Strange returned us to the battlefield at an airport in which we battled waves of Ultron drones. While fighting we suddenly ran into recognizable faces: Antman, Wasp, and Spider-Man showed up to help fight off the enemies. This is also where the popcorn sequence mentioned above occurred. After destroying the drones in the vicinity, we flew Quinjets to the final ‘boss’ battle.
Flying through the air was a very impressive experience. The side doors were open to blast Ultron drones flying through the sky. I was able to hold onto the side of the Quinjet, lean out, and look forward. It physically felt like I was looking out of a flying vehicle.
We landed and it was then time for the final battle. We battled through waves of Ultron drones until a giant amalgamation of technology appeared in the form of a giant Ultron. We battled this massive robot until receiving some additional help. As we were progressing in the fight, we got our own Avengers Assemble moment with Falcon, Black Panther, War Machine, Hawkeye, Thor, Captain Marvel, and Hulk joining the fray. Strangely, Hulk appears to be in his pre-professor Hulk form, Thor has Stormbreaker, and Spider-Man is in his first Stark suit during the battle.
Once the battle was complete, we got some comic relief in the form of Korg bringing up needing to clean up the mess of the battle. He makes sure to high tail it out of there before any of this cleaning took place. The event ended with a congratulations and we made our way back to the windowed room where the equipment was first located.
Overall the experience was truly exciting. Trying to summarize the plot here was difficult as there was so much going on at once. The story is allegedly non-canon in the universe but was a blast all the same. Technologically, the experience of moving through a physical environment while watching my favorite characters in VR was incredible. The experience costed $40 per ticket which is a fairly steep because the experience only lasted about 20-30 minutes but for someone like myself, it was worth every penny.