This is how you look when you play VR


  • Kai Kao plays a virtual reality game on Friday, November 17, 2017, at Portal Virtual Reality Arcade and Lounge in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

“When you put on the goggles, you really are transported to whatever environment and world the developer has created for you,” Tim Harader said. “Your mind just accepts it.”


Harader is the owner of Portal Virtual Reality Arcade and Lounge in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. He’s seen firsthand how virtual reality alters a person’s perception of what’s real.


“People will be in the world and they get so immersed that they forget where they are,” he said. “They forget that there are walls around them.”


Portal, which opened in Ballard last April, has 10 booths with padded walls that can be rented by the half hour or hour.


“I think when you think about VR, you’re likely to put it into the same category as PC or console gaming, where you think about teenagers sitting in their basements in the middle of the night with headsets on,” Harader said.


“VR is actually a very social experience, and I wanted people to understand that — and create this space where people could just hangout and have a good time.”


Guests can play a variety of virtual reality games by themselves, as well as multi-player games with friends and family or with people on the internet.


“It’s so different than anything you’ve ever done in your life,” Harader said.


“When you try it, whether you’re a kid or an adult, even if you’re 80 years old, I guarantee it’s going to blow you away.”