Valley Nights sees increased attendance at VR events

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To expand Valley Night’s reach and to provide more events, the group for the past two years has hosted a Virtual Reality (VR) event every Friday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. in the wedge lounges near the Thompson Student Activities Room.

Valley Nights is a registered student organization that was created to provide a safe alternative to partying for students. They felt that a weekly VR event would go hand in hand with that mission.

Madeleine Taylor, a senior professional and technical writing major and a member of the event staff, is one of the hosts.

“Throughout the years we’ve had it, we have seen an increase in students coming, and we see a lot of the same people coming around, which is good,” Taylor said. “Repeated interest is always a bonus. I think it is a really big success. Hopefully, it will continue to grow.”

As the event was created due to student interest, the focus is on how to give students the best experience. Students come out to either play their favorite game or to experience VR for the first time. Justine Brabaw, a sophomore political science major, came to the event on Friday, Sept. 15, to try VR.

“It was a very immersive experience,” Brabaw said. “I felt like I was actually a ninja and part of the game. I was nervous, but it ended up being a good experience overall.”

Austin Teeple, a sophomore with an undecided major, is a seasoned player on this system and other gaming systems.

“With other systems, you are mostly just sitting there, and it is all vision,” Teeple said. “With the HTC Vive (VR device), you get to move around in some games. It is all about the arms. It is a lot more intuitive.”

VR is a very different gaming system than most. Even though systems like the Nintendo Wii require motion, the headset of a VR system puts the player in the world of the game. The VR events not only provide students with a chance to try new experiences, but they also provide a social atmosphere.

“It is really funny to watch people play games like Fruit Ninja because they are just standing there swinging their arms around,” Taylor said.