It can be hard to drag your teens away from their video games, but the Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead VR experience in Paramus might get the okay from even the most screen-obsessed teen, since it combines zombies, escape room fun and a virtual reality gaming experience. My 15-year-old daughter and I got to try this recently and it was really fun, and I’m not even a gamer. Plus, there are tacos after!
Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead has transformed the old Best Buy near Garden State Plaza into a full-on zombie fighting experience. The movie Army of the Dead is now out on Netflix and is the foundation for this new experience from Netflix and Fever. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the movie. There are plenty of videos and staff to get you up to speed, but knowing the movie will definitely enhance the experience. All you need to know going in is that you are going to be geared up and sent off to fight against zombies.
Once you walk in and pass the giant Siberian Tiger zombie, you’ll have to check-in. Guests must wear masks the entire stay (except while eating) regardless of vaccination status. The experience is recommended for 13 and up, as the graphics are super realistic and the movie is R-rated, but a zombie/video game-loving 12-year-old might be into it… you know your kid best. All kids 15 and under require an adult to be with them at all times.
Then comes the fun part. You’ll step into a room where you get to pick your character (and weapon of choice), you’ll also get to pick if you want to sit or stand. I get motion sick so I chose to sit, and if you get a little overwhelmed by VR, you might want to opt for this too. Next, you get debriefed by a person who is trying to fight off the undead army. These staffers are in character and you’ll feel a little like you are in an escape room heading out on a mission. Once prepped, you can stash your loose items in a locker (trust me, the vehicle moves, so you’ll want to do this) and then head into the vehicle and to your assigned seat. You can be with a team of up to six people who are heading out on a rescue mission.
You’ll put on your glove sensors and hat sensor, pick up your weapon (they are surprisingly heavy) and you’ll be fully immersed in the experience. Worried about germs? The VR headsets and equipment are run through a UV light and the trucks are cleaned in between each guest. Because the vehicle you’re in moves and shakes along with the action of the VR, they recommend no heels or flip flops, and instead suggest sneakers, especially if you’re standing. And for the duration of the adventure, you’ll be shooting at zombies (in the head is most effective) as they try and take down your vehicle.
The entire experience lasts about 30 minutes, and you can take pics with some of the cool props around the building afterwards. And don’t forget to hit up C3’s Sin City Tacos when you’re done fighting off the zombies. They’ve got a menu of themed items tacos and burritos and sides.
Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead is now open at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus, at One Garden State Plaza. The VR experience will be open Wednesdays through Thursdays from 12 pm-7 pm and Fridays through Sundays from 11 am-8 pm. Tickets start at $24 and advance reservations are strongly recommended.