Talking Business: step into the virtual world at Electric Dreams | Local business

There is a vacation spot in Longview that can transport the locals to new worlds without going far from home.

Over the weekend, local Jack Pike opened Electric Dreams, a brightly colored virtual reality arcade at 1134 Washington Way next to the Union Square bar.

The arcade uses virtual reality headsets from Oculus that allow gamers to go beyond a standard TV screen.

The main section of Electric Dreams is set up for two to six players to participate in team-based arena games where a group of players can take on hordes of zombies, protect themselves from alien invaders or don their ghost-destroying hats and create a mansion of ghosts.

There are also player-versus-player games where two players compete against each other, where they can find their weapons and compete against each other.

The arcade has separate single player game booths for those who want to go it alone. The single-player area uses a different set of games than the arena, most of which come from the gaming platform Steam.

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Each player is equipped with a haptic vest that vibrates when video game creatures make contact with a player, providing tactile feedback to get one step closer to reality.

‘I can help the city’

Electric Dreams itself actually fulfills a dream for Pike, who combines his passions when opening the arcade.

“I graduated from LCC with an associate’s in business, so that’s always been my passion, is business,” Pike said. “And I’ve always loved video games. … I’ve always been involved with electronics. This is just a combination of both, and I can pursue both dreams at the same time.”

Pike grew up in the Longview-Kelso area and attended both Kelso and RA Long high schools. He is aware of the lack of entertainment options for locals, especially those under 21.

“Besides, I can help children, I can help the city,” Pike said. “There’s not much for anyone to do around here. There is no entertainment. There is a bowling alley and not much (else).”

Pike hopes that Electric Dreams can solve that and offer opportunities for young and old to get their hands on the latest game technology.

The arcade is accessible to everyone from 13 years old. Rates start at $15 per hour for single player booths. The arena costs $25 an hour before noon and goes up to $30 an hour from noon to 8pm

Pike is also willing to open the shop any hour for those on different schedules, with bookings after 8pm costing $45.

“They can book any hour and I come in and let them play because I want people from the night shift to come in and those people who have nothing to do at 2 a.m. can come in,” Pike said.

In addition to hourly rates, Pike offers a $250 party package where gamers can rent all eight headsets and vests for a two-hour time slot.

With time, Pike hopes the space can expand as Electric Dreams’ player base grows.

Pike understands that VR gaming is new territory, unfamiliar even to those familiar with the current state of the gaming world, so he welcomes anyone who wants to come in, try things out, and ask questions.

“Come and try it,” said Pike. “VR is new to a lot of people, they haven’t experienced it yet, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for gaming. We need to stop depending on a TV for everything and start playing real games and not just using our thumbs.”

Talking Business is a series featuring local new or expanded businesses and prints every Tuesday. The series was suspended during the pandemic and recently restarted.

Contact Daily News reporter Ryan Peerboom at [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.

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