We all know the pain and suffering of dating life… coffee shops, expensive dinners, and on-screen banter gets old after a while. I started looking for a more creative way to engage with my dates, and that’s when I found Redline VR. I took a chance and asked a guy to go there with me. It wasn’t a first date, but still! It turned out to be one of the most fun dates I’ve ever been on, and there was minimal date awkwardness, thanks to RVR’s unique setup.
So Much Better Than Just “Meeting For Drinks”
I am not super well-versed in the world of virtual reality, but I figured if this place hosts kids parties, a 30-something-year-old gal could handle the tech too. When I pitched the idea to my date, he was thrilled! He’d played a little bit before, and was excited to try it as a date.
First, we showed up, and there was plenty of convenient parking, which is a great perk in Chicago. We walked in and immediately loved the creative, industrial vibe. We got checked in and were then given a full tutorial on how to use the equipment in our very own booth. While we learned how to use the equipment we’d be playing with, we started sipping on a couple of cold beers from Redline’s awesome bar. My date and I both love Chicago breweries, so having local options was a strong start for this evening out.
What Do You Actually Do On a VR Date?
Once we learned the setup, it was time to start playing! Redline is extra careful to sanitize each booth and piece of equipment between reservations, so we felt comfortable putting on the headset and picking up our pointy-hand-sticks (Oculus controllers, for those of you who prefer technical terms). At first we only had a single player setup, meaning we took turns playing a game while the other sipped beer and watched.
I let my date go first, but not because I’m generous… I was nervous! I’m not a big gamer, so I was afraid to make a fool of myself trying something new. I sat at our booth’s little cafe table and watched as he suited up, chose a game, and began to play a sort of VR version of Guitar-Hero-meets-Dance-Dance-Revolution. A screen behind him showed me whatever he could see through his headset, so I was able to tell how he was doing in comparison to how he was physically moving. And may I just say… IT WAS HILARIOUS!
There’s nothing like going all-in on rhythmic, competitive dance-like moves to break that awkward date ice. This also gave me an excellent chance to do a bit of one of my favorite forms of flirting–heckling. I sat comfortably, sipped beer, and let him know how GREAT (poorly) he was doing at the game. Once he was done, it was my turn!
The headset fit me comfortably, and I got the controllers pointed in the right direction. Then the game began! As predicted, I was terrible at it, but the ice had been broken, and I was able to enjoy trying something completely new whilst fielding flirts from my date as he took his beer break.
What I didn’t realize before I put on the headset was how the game takes over 100% of the player’s vision. Honestly, it calmed my social anxiety not to be able to see the other people around while I was trying to get my arms and legs to move to a very specific beat as my date admirably revenge-heckled my performance. I forgot about everything except for the game and my date. For me, that’s another reason that Redline VR is a great place for a date.
Multiplayer Options Take Date Night to the Next Level
After a while, the booth next to us opened up, and the staff offered to let us try a multiplayer game. I took the (freshly sanitized) headset in the new booth while my date stayed in our first one. Once we’d put on our gear and connected to the same network, we got to choose a game together, chatting via the mics in our headsets. We chose “Elven Assassin,” and oh boy…
You have never dated until you’ve partnered to defend the gates of a castle fort from an unending stream of weird fantasy bad guys. He was the Gimli to my Legolas, the Wash to my Zoë, the Han to my Leia… you get it. My point is–it was SO FUN! Once again, I forgot about everything else except for this mission, learning to shoot a virtual bow and arrow on the spot, and strategizing with my date. I even worked up a little bit of a sweat!
So far, this was definitely one of the most engaging dates I’d ever been on. Neither of us could stare off into space, check our phones a million times, or completely fail at asking get-to-know-you questions. We were too busy being completely focused on each other within the world of VR. And I gotta say that having his voice right in my ear as we tried to save a remote mountain outpost together created a really lovely intimacy that I’ve never gotten from a coffee date.
After You Take Off the Headset
Once our rental period came to an end, we faced the inevitable “so what next?” phase of the date. Fortunately, Redline VR happened to be hosting an open mic night that started soon after we finished up playing. From what I could tell, they actually host cool events pretty frequently, which is another reason to add this to your list of date spots. We played some games, had some drinks, and then sat down for a chill hour of jokes.
Laughter is such an important ingredient to a good date, and if we hadn’t already chuckled throughout our VR adventures, we certainly did during the show. This open mic was hosted by a group of extremely warm, welcoming, and LGBTQ+ affirming folks, so we didn’t have to worry about suffering through any cringey or offensive material. We had another round of local beers and enjoyed comics and musicians until it was time to head home.
Win the Dating Game
The verdict? Yes, we’ll be seeing each other again–a truly successful date in my book, thanks to Redline VR. I can’t recommend this place enough as your next date spot. Whether it’s a first date or you’ve been together forever, it was so refreshing to do something other than going out to eat or seeing a movie. Check out their event schedule and pick a night with an event you can check out after an hour of gaming! I’ll be back with friends, family, and probably more dates for sure.