THE days of playing Donkey Kong and Pac-Man in coin-operated cabinets may be over.

But an arcade experience is back in Warrington thanks to a former St Gregory RC High School student’s love of virtual reality (VR).

Barry McCarroll has set up a VR arcade at Lineva House in Milner Street through his company VR-Party.

From a simulation of the Apollo 11 mission to zombie survival quests, players will have access to more than 100 games and experiences. Using a headset, motion controllers that stand in for your hands and infrared sensors that track your movements, VR fully immerses you in a game’s surroundings.

And Barry hopes that the arcade’s appeal will extend well beyond gamers.

There are experiences like Google Earth VR where you can take a virtual tour of anywhere on the planet and the Bewsey resident reckons Star Trek: Bridge Crew where you take the helm of a Starfleet ship would be good for team building.

He said: “Half the fun is watching people’s reactions. There’s a four-player game where one person has on the headset and they’ve got to describe the bomb and other players have to tell them how to disarm it. It’s five minutes for each round so you can pass the headset.

“Some are more difficult than others and the scary ones can be quite creepy when you’re fully immersed with the headphones on.”

Barry, who has been a gamer since the BBC Acorn days, was inspired to set up a VR company after a visit to Barcelona.

The 41-year-old added: “I met some friends there, we did this virtual reality experience and our minds were blown.

“It was a four-player space station escape game. So I was thinking of setting something similar up in Warrington.

“But technology was moving forward really fast and I thought why limit it to one game?

‘You’re so involved with what’s going on that if there’s a drop your stomach actually goes’

“I decided a virtual reality arcade would be better. You can play hundreds of games then.”

Barry first opened the mobile company VR-Party for the likes of parties and corporate events.

He now has two £2,500 VR units – which includes a HTC Vive headset hooked up to a high end PC – at his arcade and hopes to expand to four if the venture takes off.

One of the main draws of having a VR arcade in the town is to offer a platform for the majority of gamers who cannot afford to fork out thousands of pounds for tech.

But he also wants to develop the arcade for education and training purposes. From bringing student’s subjects to life to training staff on a virtual construction site, the possibilities are near limitless.

And Barry said it is always interesting seeing people’s reactions in the virtual world the first time.

Barry, whose favourite VR game is the escape room Belko, said: “You’re so involved with what’s going on that if there’s a drop your stomach actually goes.

“We have a game where you go up in a lift and then walk on a plank and about half the people who play it can’t do it. They’ll take the headset off and go: ‘I know the floor’s there and I’m not going to fall’ but they physically can’t do it.”

  • A maximum of four people can share a VR station for an hour for £40 or it is £25 for a single player for an hour. For the full range of offers visit


Weekend has teamed up with VR-Party to give away two free hour sessions at the arcade at Lineva House.

To enter, simply answer the question: A visit to which city inspired Barry to open Warrington’s VR arcade?

Send your answers along with your name, address and phone number before 3pm on Monday after which a winner will be selected at random. Send an email with the title ‘VR competition’ to

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