Knott’s Berry Farm virtual reality ‘Showdown’ lets you defend Ghost Town from robotic villains


The Ghost Town Train is on fire in this screen shot from the new virtual reality game at Knott’s Berry Farm called “VR Showdown in Ghost Town.” (Photo by, Courtesy Knott’s Berry Farm) 


It’s a chance to defend a western town, Ghost Town that is, at Knott’s Berry Farm in its newest attraction “VR Showdown in Ghost Town.”

The new experience, opening in April, places four “players” in a virtual-reality version of the farm’s Ghost Town to defend it.

It’s the players as the good guys versus the virtual robotic characters as the bad guys – and everyone has a six-gun with plenty of virtual bullets.

“Two players can physically walk around the space, and each other, in Ghost Town,” said Ivan Blaustein, a producer with VR Studios, the company that developed the experience with Knott’s and its parent company, Cedar Fair.

This is the first free-roaming multiplayer virtual reality game experience in a U.S. theme park.

To play the game, visitors have to pay $6 each time they want to participate.

It is in the arcade of the Boardwalk area, underneath the farm’s “Voyage to the Iron Reef” ride that opened in 2015.

Once inside, and after seeing an introductory video, players are led in pairs to a pod. There they are “suited up” with audio and visual headsets, and given an electronic “gun” to shoot the bad guys. Players must stay within a certain area within the pod so that the computers driving the game can get information from the headsets and guns, and at the same time stream the video and audio to them.

Blaustein said it has a fast refresh rate, and the system can even tell when a person is crouching or tilting their head.

“Because we can match the angle of the player, we have no problems with motion sickness common on many other systems,” he said.

The experience, after players are “suited up” and connected wirelessly to the computer system, lasts about three minutes.

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To create the virtual version of Ghost Town, Blaustein and his team from VR Studios spent a lot of time in and photographing Ghost Town then turned to developing the game, which took about six months.

“It’s a marvelous property full of a lot of history and lore,” he said.

There are eight pods, and two of the pods can play in the same game scenario at the same time, meaning up to four players can play and defend Ghost Town together.

There are no prizes, only “bragging rights” for the player with the highest score, though Knott’s officials plan to publish the scores daily, and eventually weekly and more online.

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