CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Have you ever wanted to fly over the Swiss Alps in a wingsuit? A new virtual reality amusement game allows you to do that from anywhere.
The Birdly might look like a machine straight out of a movie, but it allows you to take flight and see the world from new points of view and even see new places like the Swiss Alps, New York City, or even the depths of the ocean.
“The VR world is bringing an experience you’ve never done before or were to do before,” Greg Bacorn, owner of Barron Games, said. “The VR world is bringing an experience you’ve never done before or were to do before.”
More than a decade ago, Bacorn and other University at Buffalo students opened Barron games in Cheektowaga, creating amusement gaming devices. The company began by creating an air hockey table that dispensed prize tickets. Initial products were featured in Dave and Buster’s as well as Chuck-E-Cheese.
Birdly was designed, and is built in Switzerland, but Bacorn’s company is the U.S. distributor for it. The ride just won most innovative product at the amusement expo in Las Vegas.
“You can fly through the Alps, You can swim with the dolphins, you can fly around New York City, you can fly around Chicago. Things that a normal person wouldn’t be able to do,” Bacorn explained.
To take flight, riders board the Birdly and secure the virtual reality goggles. Then, after a quick demonstration, you are diving through the air, narrowly avoiding waterfalls and caverns in the Alps.
“There are a lot of technological advances that are happening here that we are just happy to be a small part of and bringing the most advanced and exciting virtual reality experiential machine and being in Buffalo and that makes us really proud to be apart of it,” Bacorn added.
Bacorn said the video game and amusement arcade game world has advanced significantly since his company began. He says it is through innovation that this industry continues to move forward and some of that stems from right here in Western New York. With the overwhelming increase in tech jobs in Western New York and new tech training programs at local colleges and universities, Bacorn is excited for the future and has this advice for future innovators.
“Take a risk and do something that you never thought would be able to work. I never thought I’d be standing here showing off a virtual reality machine when I studied to become a teacher,” Bacorn said.
Birdly is currently elsewhere across the United States and there are no current locations in Buffalo. Bacorn hopes more people will take flight soon.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.