L.A. is getting its first ever reality amusement park. The Two Bit Circus startup has raised $21 million to open a highly immersive MR theme park. Able to receive some 500-700 guests, the unique carnival is a joy to visit for every VR and AR enthusiast. It’s called Micro-Amusement Park and everyone is invited, entrance on the house.
The self-proclaimed ‘STEM nerds’ Two Bit Circus CEO Brent Bushnell and its CTO Eric Gradman have never shied away from crazy. Doing business for Google and Intel among others, they decided to take the torch and pursue their own story. The Mixed Reality theme park is the realization of that decision, a sprawling warehouse teeming with AR and VR goodies. ‘Inside the park, you’ll find the future of fun and that to us looks like virtual reality, augmented reality’. ‘It’s going to be bananas’, Bushnell spices up the more temperate words from Gradman.
And indeed, Bushnell is not unjustified in his exclamation. The ‘bananas’ part is embodied in endless collection of Mixed Reality games that very much blur the line between gaming and technology. Aside from the classics, Micro Amusement Park spices things up by introducing the so-called ‘meta games’. These are realized in terms of cues spread across the park for the visitors to find and play. In our MR theme park Fridays and Saturdays night are when things start getting 18+ and yes, there’s a robot bartender here too.
From the outside, the 38, 000 square foot building doesn’t say much about the contents inside. True enough, apart from few luring signs here are there, one can think that not much is going on. But once in, a world of reality entertainment cracks wide open.
The space itself is parceled into different zones, 6 in all. The first two showcase a contrast of sorts, the Midway Zone paying homage to cult classics in reimagined form, while the Arcane Arcade features some rather new-age stuff. Conversely, Story rooms may become the group goers’ go-to zone, as it is centered on achieving a common VR goal like surviving a haunted river trip. The Arena is perhaps the centerpiece of our Micro-Amusement MR theme park. It’s all about the latest VR here. HTC Vive Pro is the official headset and here visitors can patrol the now classic Birdfly VR. The last two zones are called Cabanas and Club 01, the first being a vast multiplayer arena of sorts, while the latter is the circus attempt to simulate an interactive social theater. Game shows and theater productions will be regular here.
‘We’re big believers that there’s a shift in entertainment – from one that’s really passive, to one that’s really active’ – Bushnell opens up on some future plans. Because duo is apparently not stopping here. Next year will see the opening of a larger reality theme park spreading across 50, 000 square feet. The Micro-Amusement Park is just a step towards building the audience and testing waters. ‘This is the first step in building a larger media entertainment company ‘are Bushnell’s very words.