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Virtual reality cinema opens in mall

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Rollercoasting: Tiara Simons, 14, and Taya Simons, 12, ride the Regent XD Virtual Reality Cinema rollercoaster as the seats tilt forward for a downward stretch (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A Bermudian business consultancy is on a rollercoaster ride to success with a new venture.

Regent Consulting has launched Regent XD Virtual Reality Cinema in Hamilton’s Washington Mall, featuring lifelike VR thrills.

Tee Ogunyemi, managing director of Regent, said: “In Bermuda they say there’s not much to do — so this is adding to what is out there for people to do.

“It’s for all ages. It’s really fun entertainment for all the family.”

Regent XD features a cinema-style seating plan with headphones and hi-tech virtual reality goggles that simulate fairground rides like rollercoasters, as well as deep space travel and underwater adventures.

The cinema seats are synchronised with the visual action to tilt and vibrate and the rollercoaster even features a wind-in-the-hair feature for added authenticity.

The attraction, in the lower ground floor of Church Street’s Washington Mall, next to the food court, also features interactive pods, where participants can take part in Call of Duty-style shooting games,

Mr Ogunyemi, a former head of business banking at Butterfield Bank, said: “The pods have rollercoasters with different themes, but in addition they’re more interactive. There’s shooting, you can play different games and it’s more engaging.

“Not only are you seeing the action, you’re in it. People are attacking and you can shoot back and dodge.”

The business opened on Friday and Mr Ogunyemi said the opening hours were set to make the entertainment accessible to as many people as possible.

He added: “It will take off. Where you meet a need, you’re bound to be successful.

“It’s really based on two things — one to enable families to have alternative things to do. Bermuda is a wonderful place, but people wake up on a Saturday and wonder what to do.

“This is fun and excitement and we know that need is there. It enhances the Bermuda product and it’s also good for tourism.”

Mr Ogunyemi said Hamilton-based Regent, which offers a range of services to businesses and has a real estate arm, set up the new venture to showcase cutting-edge ideas and highlight entrepreneurial opportunities.

He added: “We’re business consultants — we help businesses start and grow. With a good idea, you can start up some viable businesses.

“There are a lot of people with entrepreneurial spirit here. There is this urge to be your own boss — sometimes people need a little help in bringing it to fruition.

“We don’t only look in Bermuda, we look outside to different markets, African and Asian, places Bermuda doesn’t normally focus on, to be able to bring some innovative things here.”

He said: “We assist small businesses to help them re-engineer their businesses, do business plans, with training, financial planning and investment opportunities outside Bermuda.”

And he said that it was planned to expand the entertainment on offer in the future with new attractions.

Mr Ogunyemi added: “There is some other equipment we’re looking to bring in — but I don’t want to say more than that at the moment.”

Regent XD, which employs five young Bermudian staff, opened last Friday.

Opening hours are noon to 6pm Monday to Thursday, noon to 8pm Friday and Saturday and 1pm to 5pm on Sunday.

Mr Ogunyemi said: “We’ve done our best to be open when people are available.”

See here: Regent Consulting's Oshokey Williams, left, and the firm's managing director Tee Ogunyemi prepare to enjoy a VR rollercoaster ride at Regent XD Virtual Reality Cinema in Washington Mall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Zemira Webb 12, tries out the new Regent XD Virtual Reality Cinema, yesterday inside the Washington Mall (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Space age: The thrills on offer at Regent XD Virtual Reality Cinema include virtual reality rollercoaster rides on ciinema-style seats and special pods for interactive games. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)