City Life

The Future Comes to Thayer Street

East Side Monthly Magazine ·

The future is now – and it’s right here in Providence. If your only exposure to virtual reality (VR) has been via The Matrix, Black Mirror or Lawnmower Man, you’ll want to zip over to Thayer Street and experience the real thing for yourself at Base Station VR Lounge, the first dedicated virtual reality lounge in New England. It’s more low key than how science fiction often portrays it, but also much more immersive than you might expect.

Before opening in June, owner Nidal Battikha researched other popular entertainment venues like escape rooms and paint nights, but the initial inspiration for Base Station was simple: “I bought a VR headset and fell in love with it,” he says. Thayer Street’s proximity to nearby colleges made it a perfect fit: “I’d been looking at a different business opportunity,” Nidal says, “and I found a space with an extra room and thought, ‘Hey, it would be really cool if I set up a headset and started charging.’”

Ultimately, he created five stations throughout two rooms, with floor mats and plenty of space to allow customers to get lost in simulated worlds. As of this writing, Base Station’s library offers more than 60 experiences – games, yes, but also casual walks through art galleries and otherworldly spaces, puzzles, competitive combat, zombie escapes and other horror scenarios for the gutsy.

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