Virtual Perceptions went to Social Fun and Games Club in London to see the House of Foos, a hut with several table football sets. All were standard tables with standard figures, save one: the hut itself contained a closed-off table and four Oculus Rift VR headsets.
We came to try out VR table football – and it was, surprisingly, really, really hard.
What is VR table football?
We were placed in a stadium, standing as giants among ant-sized people. Just like the real-life location, the virtual stadium was on a rooftop in a large city. We grabbed the handles and played the first game against one another, smashing the ball from side to side.
The game is very different from the real versions that are constrained by the laws of physics. For one, the VR version has power-ups. Either the ball can split into three separate ones, or a massive juggernaut that smashes players to pieces. Another power-up locks one team’s goal, which makes it impossible to score for a short while. What is especially interesting about the game, is that the players can also leave their set line and run forwards; however, they dissolve and return to their position if they touch an opponent on their way to the goal. Peru lost the match, much to the disdain of a Peruvian onlooker who watched the match on a screen outside.
Getting destroyed by the computer
Then we played together against the computer, and got demolished. It felt like the computer contained the cumulative experience of professional table football players over multiple generations, as it scored again and again. This may have been intentional, as it means players keep coming back to claim victory.
The location is really cool; Social Fun and Games Club overlooks East London, with flashing lights, food stalls, and other games such as curling and minigolf. We ate vegan bao buns at Eat Chay, followed by cocktails, and we felt ready to tackle the night and some players on the football field. We just weren’t prepared to be decked ourselves. However, we were told that some players have lost 12-0 to the computer once, which made us feel slightly better about our 3-1 loss.
An alternative way to play
For £5, players can play three bite-sized games. A neat addition is also a handlebar, that people can hang on to to get a discounted round for the House of Foos – whoever can hang on to the handlebar for 1:30 minutes or longer, gets 50% off. As one of the organisers puts it “We make them work for it”.
The VR game itself is Koliseum Soccer VR, made by Swedish company Kynoa. Technically the game has not been released yet; it is in early-access, where people can play a particular build of the game. Currently, the launch date of the full version is 7 December 2019 on Steam.
Would we play it again?
The game takes quite a bit of practice to get good at, which is not something that happens in just three games. For the price of £5 it’s fun to try it out, but probably not something we would do many times in a row. We definitely recommend people to give it a go, even if it’s just to see a huge spiky ball plough through your opponents to get you a goal.
Disclosure: Social Fun and Games Club supplied free tickets, food, and drinks for the experience.