PO virtual reality: From zombies to flipping burgers

The space is what you make of it at Dimension XR, whether you are shooting zombies, solving escape room puzzles or…flipping burgers?

Yes, Sean Ong and his wife Neisha still don’t quite understand that one, but the immersive experiences provided at their virtual reality entertainment center in Port Orchard have kids and adults alike hooked on these otherworldly experiences.

Dimension XR got its official start in Tukwila in 2022. The idea had been born as Reality’s Edge in 2021 before a resurgence in COVID forced the pair to pump the brakes on their ambitions.

Sean said the new owners of the Town Square Mall then reached out to them with the interest of a second location after the Tukwila branch started to gain traction.

“A lot of people are moving in, a lot of people who live here are commuting into Seattle,” he said, “We really thought about it and thought to give it a try.”

The tidbit of Sean and Neisha having been married in Port Orchard also pulled at their heartstrings enough to bring the vastly expanding market of VR gaming to the community. Beyond Reality had been one of the closest options, stationed just a foot ferry’s travel away in Bremerton.

Sean said his company goes all in on a customer’s transport into a new dimension. “What (VR) has unlocked is the ability to have immersive world-class experiences without necessarily the capital needed to build a whole bunch of stuff,” he said. “You don’t have to have a whole bunch of stuff to build a giant theme park, a ton of money and material to build out a super expensive center.”

To the player, the empty bare-bones space on the top floor of the mall becomes a laser tag arena, a ninja training simulator and a full-fledged escape room, sometimes all of them at once in different corners of the space.

Yes, it can even be a burger joint. “It’s chaotic,” Sean said about the popular Cook’d Up co-op game. “You’ve got people saying they’ve got dishes and yelling for a burger for a waiting customer. It’s just so much fun for them once they’ve tried it.”

Neisha enjoys the competitive aspects of VR gaming but also recognizes the potential for a positive team-building and learning experience in the various programs. It’s this mentality and the long-term vision of the company that have the owners putting together a series of summer STEM camps at their new location.

“What I like to see is kids having a good time and knowing that they’re safe and able to enjoy it together. When you put kids in front of something like this where they have to work together, it helps them out a little bit,” she said.

The experience is also a safe one, Sean explained that the innovative technology does a splendid job of keeping all players tracked. “In the past, maybe five years ago, not so much and very rough,” he said. “The idea was there and valid, but the tech had not yet caught up.”