Explore new worlds at Tehachapi's new virtual reality arcade
August 3, 2019
Talking to people within the community who are "doing good" for others, is very inspirational. The Grassroots Tehachapi column has highlighted acts of kindness, compassion and moments of growth within Tehachapi.
This week's column is looking at a brand new business in town that is sure to bring a new level of excitement, entertainment and innovation to the Tehachapi Mountains. Tehachapi Virtual Reality Arcade held a two-day Grand Opening on July 19-20. Nearly 200 people came to the event for the free snacks, raffles and to take a step into new and mesmerizing worlds.
The virtual reality (VR) trend has been gaining momentum since 2012 when Palmer Luckey began a Kickstarter campaign with his company Oculus.
Explore new worlds, pet a dragon and face your fears at Tehachapi's new virtual reality arcade
In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus for more than $2 billion. Since then, a variety of companies and developers have been making the experience more exciting and comfortable for consumers. Today, it has become a piece of tech you can explore in your own home. Depending on the headset you choose, a home setup can very quickly become a pricey investment. Thankfully, Matt Galbraith and his family have made testing this tech easy through their new arcade.
Galbraith said he did a Facebook survey in December 2018 to see what types of businesses the residents of Tehachapi were hoping for. After about 400 responses, 80 percent of people wanted to see more entertainment offerings. Galbraith's initial idea was a bowling alley and arcade, but the cost was too high.
"VR was cost effective, fun and a new type of entertainment that I believed would help start our goal of providing exceptional entertainment options to Tehachapi," he said. "I can say with confidence, that as we grow, I have every intention of bringing more creative entertainment options to Tehachapi. We just have to take things one step at a time."
Tehachapi Virtual Reality Arcade is the ultimate dream come true for nerds like me. Touches of fandom joy are everywhere from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, to Star Wars and classic Ninendo games. The arcade is filled with geek eye candy and a selection of virtual experiences like you've never seen before.
Unsure what to try when you visit the arcade?
"My favorite VR experience? That's tough, there are a lot of fun games. I'd say some of my favorites are: Beat Saber, Arizona Sunshine, A-Tech Cybernetic and Space Pirate Trainer," Galbraith said.
What makes this new business even better is the family running it. Galbraith works alongside his wife and children, and loves the idea of operating a true family business.
"I would love to build a family business where they can learn how to operate a successful business," he said. "But beyond just my kids and family, I have a passion for business in general, and as we grow I'll gladly hire people and help them not only earn a paycheck, but learn many of the skills I've learned while working for Fortune 150 companies, medical device startups and even my own education."
Galbraith said he wants the arcade to be a hangout for all kinds of gaming experiences, including Dungeons & Dragons and Pokemon. He is also looking forward to upcoming VR competitions, the first being a Beat Saber contest. More details to come.
"I can't express enough how thankful I am to those who have already started supporting us," Galbraith said. "I truly have every intention of bringing more entertainment and other services to Tehachapi ... we want to be a staple in Tehachapi known for quality entertainment and exceptional services."
Tehachapi Virtual Reality Arcade is open Tuesday-Thursday from noon to 9 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. It is located near Gold Mountain Sports Tavern at 20601 CA-202, Ste. B105.
I've been lucky enough to experience the VR phenomenon since 2012. My husband, a writer and editor who focuses on virtual and augmented reality, filled the house with new headsets, games and experiences. It has been a fun ride and I'm excited to share those experiences with Tehachapi residents. It is definitely an exciting addition to our mountain town and I'm anxious to see future business endeavors and entertainment offerings from the Galbraith family.
See you next time and be kind to one another!