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LIVE THE GAME

Published: Tuesday, August 01, 2017    



By Sana Panjwani

EAR-MARKED TO BECOME A LEADING DESTINATION FOR THE MIDDLE EAST GAMING COMMUNITY HIB ZERO INVITES YOU INTO A UNIVERSE WHERE THE REAL AND THE VIRTUAL COLLIDE

Gone are the days of idly sitting back and simply being a spectator of your on-screen gaming experience; gaming enthusiasts, and novices alike, have a treat lined up for them at Meraas’ Hub Zero in City Walk, Dubai, which opened its doors to the community last year.

Utilising the latest in cutting-edge gaming technology, Hub Zero is a 15,000 sq m gaming complex spread over two floors featuring 18 thrilling rides, attractions and experiential zones, along with a number of retail and dining zones.

Conventional entertainment like pool, a LAN gaming area and karaoke can be found upstairs but the real cream of the crop lies on the ground floor, featuring more than 70 per cent of attractions which currently can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

“The combination of cutting edge technology and creative video game content at Hub Zero is sure to usher in a wave of gamers and non-gamers alike. As the frst destination of its kind in the region, the immersive gaming zone is poised to emerge as a hub for the Middle Eastern gaming community and serve as a must-visit destination for UAE residents and visitors to relive some of their most thrilling fantasies,” said Jean Marc Bled, General Manager of Meraas' Entertainment Zones.

“With its unique attractions, the immersive gaming hub will challenge visitors’ perceptions and revolutionise how they see and experience video games,” he added.

THRILLING ATTRACTIONS

Invest in an unlimited pass for a chance to indulge in boundless fun. Hub Zero offers an active and challenging environment for gamers of all levels, as well as an eclectic genre list for all tastes.

Shooting enthusiasts can kick off their experience by booking a 15-minute slot (one-time play only, even with the unlimited pass) at the Gears of Warthemed laser tag arena. Spread over two levels and sporting interactive media targets, 24 guests can play at a time in teams of six, eight or 12 and show down in an exhilarating close-quarter laser tag battle.

If, like me, you’re a fan of the undead and are prepping against the eventual zombie apocalypse, try your hand at Resident Evil: Bio Terror, an interactive 3D ride in the dark which drives you through an abandoned laboratory infested with zombies.

The fve-person ride equips players with laser guns and special goggles to arm them against their fght. The game records each player’s score with real-time artifcial intelligence detecting and adjusting to a player’s skill.

Take the experience up a notch by heading to the facility’s Virtual Arena where you can step into the future by experiencing a real-time, fully immersive high-fdelity experience. The wireless headset allows you to explore and interact within the virtual world in an unrestricted manner, picking between two shooting games: Time Zombies or Interstellar Marine’s Bullseye, the inaugural line-up.

Hack Attack, on the other hand, gives players a 10-minute action-packed session in an immersive 3D area where you’re equipped with a gun mounted on simulators – your only defense against a full-force attack. On the other hand, if you’re a fantasyenthuse, Hub Zero offers three epic virtual experiences: Final Fantasy: Escape from Midgar, Dragon Age: Flight of the Wardens, and Asura’s Wrath: The Awakening – players dive into the narrative fantasy telling of each story, going on a sensory adventure with the existing characters. Not for the faint of heart!

Action and sports games include Hyper Drive – a driving simulator equipped with surround screens and six degrees of movement – as well as PES Sports Academy where football fanatics or otherwise can engage in a 12-minute tournament testing their skills with the latest Kinect software.

For something a bit more hands-on, try your hands (and feet) at Double Agent where you’re given the chance to test your speed and agility in a double laser maze as you race against the clock.

And if you’re really feeling brave, head over to the Hero Zone where you climb, leap and swing your fears away as you tackle a roperidden action zone (harnessed, of course!) before heading over to face climbing walls, the Stairway to Heaven and ending on a Leap of Faith, and not of the metaphorical sense – a defnite-must for you if you’re an Assassin’s Creed fan!

“HEAD OVER TO THE HERO ZONE WHERE YOU CLIMB, LEAP AND SWING YOUR FEARS AWAY AS YOU TACKLE A ROPE-RIDDEN ACTION ZONE … ENDING ON A LEAP OF FAITH, AND NOT OF THE METAPHORICAL SENSE”

You need to be at least 140cm to play/ engage in most of the games but children can embark on their own virtual adventures with Tiny Track Racers, featuring kick-back rumble seats as kids kart around or head to Plants vs Zombies: Backyard Brawl – a themed, interactive playground fnished with blasters, vacuums and cannons. If the new-age tech is leaving you nostalgic for the old-timey games, head over to the mezzanine where the Time Warp Arcade awaits. Take a trip down memory lane with a well-curated collection of classics boasting retro plays like Super Mario, Pac Man, Space Invaders, and Mortal Kombat. Themed – AC/DC, Metallica, and Indiana Jones – pinball machines also await.

Hub Zero is also home to three dining venues – Hub Café, Nitro Ice Bytes and The Server – any which are a must fuel stop to carry you through the day. The Hub Café features a pleasant retro feel – be sure to try the Bacon and Cheese Burger, an inhouse favourite. And if you’d like to leave with a keepsake or two, head over to Cache Point before “logging out” to pick up some themed merchandise or collectibles.

A GAMER’S DREAM

Catering to fans of various genres with FPS (First Person Shooter), fantasy, action and adrenaline-pumping games, the Hub Zero experience is second to none, bringing video games to life in a sensory and emotionally-thrilling environment – visitors, now rightfully gamers, will leave with an unforgettable experience, simply wondering how quickly morning turned to night.

Those sceptical of the authenticity can rest assured knowing that the facility partnered up with some of the world’s most recognised gaming brands to create the ultimate gamer-verse. Staples like Electronic Arts (widely known as EA), Microsoft, Capcom, KONAMI, Square Enix and PopCap were involved from the start, hand-picking the most popular games from their arsenal before conceptualising and adapting said games into interactive attractions to be showcased at Hub Zero. For more information, check out hubzerodubai.com
 
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