Inside the Rec Room, Cineplex’s new Playdium-style arcade for adults in Roundhouse Park

Inside the Rec Room, Cineplex’s new Playdium-style arcade for adults in Roundhouse Park

Last summer, we said that the city’s only arcade was an invite-only affair hidden away in the suburbs. Things have changed in the past year: barcades and VR lounges are everywhere, the pinball bar Tilt opened in the Annex and, on the glitzier side of things, Cineplex just opened the Rec Room. The 40,000-square-foot new complex is housed in the old Leon’s building in Roundhouse Park. Here, a look inside.

Last night, Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob, pictured above, showed off the new digs to John Tory and others. “I just beat the mayor at air hockey, so that was good,” he said. Jacob hopes the Rec Room attracts some of the foot traffic from the Rogers Centre, CN Tower, Ripley’s Aquarium and nearby mega-screen sports bars. “Today, people are living in such small spaces—if you look at the condos around us, they’re 300 square feet—so they need an escape. They need a social experience”:

Photograph by Giordano Ciampini

The Rec Room is reminiscent of the Playdium complex that used to sit on Richmond, in a building that is now a Michaels craft store. It seeks to be a Dave & Buster’s for millennials, or a Chuck E. Cheese where there aren’t droves of sugar-high birthday-party kids running around. The pizzas are even made in wood ovens:

There are no throwback arcade terminals (and only one pinball machine), but the space packs plenty of new racing simulators:

Shooters based on Alien and The Walking Dead:

Basketball nets:

As well as pool and air hockey tables:

There are prizes to be won, too: board games, Funko Pop! figurines and sports merchandise for anyone in a post-game haze:

The main-ticket event is Ghostbusters Dimension, a VR experience created by a Utah entertainment group called The Void. It’s a few notches up from the HTC Vive, outfitting players with VR headsets, laser guns and body vests. Participants walk through a series of rooms, seeing and shooting virtual creations. Groups transform into digital Ghostbusters, complete with slimey mayhem and Stay Puft roasting:

The ghosts aren’t really there, but the props are: reach out to poke a virtual couch and you’ll feel an actual couch, or walk across virtual scaffolding and you’ll feel real boards sway woozily below you. Mayor Tory toured the Ghostbusters simulation earlier in the day—to shut down the ghost containment unit, we presume: