YuMe World: Newcastle's latest VR gaming centre

Gaming Editor Alex Darbyshire takes an exclusive look at YuMe World, an upcoming VR and arcade centre at The Gate

Alex Darbyshire
20th December 2019
Image: Alex Darbyshire
A long time ago, when gaming was a much younger industry, kids would flock to arcades for a chance to see games that blew what was available at home out of the water. As console hardware improved, the arcade largely died in the west, save for novelty locations and niche bars. YuMe World, a new VR and arcade experience opening on 21 December, hopes to revive that same wonder for an entirely new generation.

The biggest roadblock to many gamers accessing virtual reality experiences is the price of the equipment, with even cheaper setups costing upwards of £100 on top of your regular machine. That is where YuMe World hopes to change the landscape.

Located inside The Gate, in the heart of Newcastle, YuMe provides excellent access to a wide variety of both conventional arcade experiences, as well as higher-end VR setups that really redefine what immersion means. The team over at YuMe were kind enough to give me an advanced viewing of the entertainment centre, so I could take a look at what they want to bring to their customers.

Among their library was House of The Dead: Scarlet Dawn, a classic light gun shoot-em-up with some satisfying feedback

I was at first shown their more classic arcade titles, obtained from their partnership with SEGA. Their library boasted House of The Dead: Scarlet Dawn, a classic light gun shoot-em-up with some satisfying feedback, and a brand new version of Centipede that looked to update a beloved classic. What they were more eager to show me was the VR side of the entertainment centre.

The first game they showed me was a racing game in the style of F-Zero, which quickly ramped up the speed to an intense degree for a first time VR user such as myself. I should note that YuMe’s staff were very aware of the danger of motion sickness and were attentive to any problems I may have had. Strapped into the machine, the racer flipped me all over the place, in line with the experience in the game.

Plenty of these games had the quality of a VR ride, and the scale they manage to convey never gets old.

When speaking with Phil Jones, the director of FEC Group and the man behind YuMe World, he explained the choice of these kinds of machines over a normal home VR setup. He wants YuMe world to be an “indoor, virtual theme park”, an industry that is largely untapped in the UK, especially in the North East. Plenty of these games definitely had the quality of a VR ride, and the scale they manage to convey never gets old.

YuMe boasts a cashless model, where customers can wire money to a card that they then use to buy credits in the games. The exchange rate for credits favours larger groups, incentivising players to bring more friends along. The centre will also be releasing details about packages for birthdays and group events soon. Inge Johnson Mitchell, The Gate’s Centre Manager looks forward to YuMe’s opening, calling it an “exciting new addition” to the centre’s lineup.

YuMe World is a gaming centre for the twenty first century, with a mix of virtual reality and traditional arcade

Phil Jones, FEC Group Director

The entertainment centre also boasts a healthy library of VR experiences, around 100, which they plan to rotate on a monthly basis, so that customers always have something new to play with. Additionally, Jones plans to expand YuMe World to more cities across the North, such as Leeds, so those of us in Yorkshire won’t have to wait long to give it a try.

As a local gamer, it is my opinion that entertainment centres like these provide a chance to try VR for those who perhaps can’t afford the equipment themselves, as well as those chasing a more immersive, theme park ride-style experience. It’s an incredible start for YuMe World.

YouMe World opens officially on 21 December 2019. You can see their updates on their website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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AUTHOR: Alex Darbyshire
Gaming Editor, part-time human.

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