MM test out IMAX’s first Virtual Reality experience in Europe… at the Trafford Centre!

Film and gaming fans can experience a world like no other thanks to the IMAX at the intu Trafford Centre’s new VR experience.

A state-of-the-art location provides users with a mind-blowing experience entering a multi-dimensional virtual reality game themed on the latest games and movie entertainments around.

The user is transported into an immersive new world filled with exquisite visuals that surround you 360-degrees and allow you to see, hear, feel, move and play in a powerfully immersive and realistic way.

The combination of the latest technology in VR headsets, image resolution, motion tracking, and unique feedback from a variety of control devices all add a deeper level of realism to the game.

Giovanni Dolci, Managing Director, Europe & Africa, IMAX Corporation said: “IMAX VR brings the best VR technology and content together in a highly social and interactive setting that will let you and your friends become a part of the experience like never before.”

The players chose the experience they wish to take part in, either beforehand online, or at the centre itself.

The centre gives them a quick briefing about the particulars of the play experiences and then proceed to lead the player to one of ten ‘futuristic pods’, helping them into IMAX VR gear, consisting of the headset, earphones and two interactive paddles for each hand.

Each experience is about 8-15 minutes long, ranging between 7.50 and 10 pounds with both single and multiplayer options available.

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New content partnership has been established and constant updates of games and experiences are assured.

Mark Way, Managing Director ODEON Cinemas Group said: “We’re delighted that our guests in Manchester will the first in Europe to enjoy it, and look forward to welcoming everyone to an unforgettable experience.”

But what does Mancunian Matters feel about it all?

After a briefing on the launch, we spent a full morning testing out the new virtual reality games.

With a wide selection to choose from, we started off with ‘Justice League’ with both members choosing the batman and superman experience.

Upon putting on the VR headset for the first time, a new realm opened up to us.

Millions of pieces of detail which made up the room we were inside. Great big computer boards, spaceship like features, and even several superhero outfits.

We spent the two experiences either using our head movement to guide where were flying while at the same time shooting off creatures with our heat lasers, or holding out our two paddles as if they had become a steering wheel, driving our way through dark roads shooting away the enemy.

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This indeed was quite an arm workout and we both came out of it excited as we were getting the hang of it, and in complete awe of the majesticness of the action filled realism.

Raw Data Multiplayer then had us in separate pods, but playing together as a team in the same game.

We were able to hear each other through our headpieces and see each other in the same game.

Whilst we fought off the evil robots with our respective weapons, we found ourselves being fully physically active in the game, making sword like karate motions and shooting motions with our interactive gear.

The visuals were incredible and even allowed you to see flocks of birds flying past the mountains in the near distance while waiting for the game to load.

The constant thought process in the game of trying to look around, whilst listening to your teammate, whilst controlling your hands, fingers and thumbs, remembering to press the right buttons at the right times, was truly a hard task and not as easy as one would think.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew was the next game we tackled, highly defeated due to the lack of two other team members, we were able to dive into a different realm and experience a longer and more thought involved game.

Our last experience was the easy level of Archangel.

Although a medium level stage was tried, this game bought our patience and strategic planning up a notch, all the while trying to engage fingers and thumbs on both hands at the same time as moving both hands and remembering which buttons actually did what!

The staff were super helpful and friendly, with our only complaint being we couldn’t hear their offers of help or direction when in the game.

We were able to see how, alongside the cinema, the project was in a prime location, and with its diverse games, the challenging, yet fun virtual reality centre is extremely promising overall.

For Mancunians with VR sets compatible with games consoles at home, Head of Communication at Odeon, Simon Soffee told MM why their centre is worth the visit.   

He said: “The difference between watching something at home or here is both in terms of the timing of the content and also the capacity of the technology.

“You could say the same about watching a movie and home instead of watching at the cinema.

“The kit you’ve got here is not home kit; it’s expensive and powerful and needs people to run it at its very best.” 

For more information and to purchase tickets for IMAX VR at ODEON, visit

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