Words and photos by Rachael Smith
(PCM) When we entered this offsite we encountered the marketplace. We were able to get water and snacks. They had two things to do; the VR experience and an escape room.
This was the physical training to simulate what recruit Jack Ryan would have done to complete his transition from analyst to field operator. I was strapped into safety harness and given a complete VR set that included a backpack, goggles and hand and feet sensors. I waited in a tent with other ‘recruits’ until it was my turn to complete the mission. When it was my time to start I was rushed to a golf cart that took me to a set of steps that led me to the helicopter on top of a building. This is when the VR part started.
The VR ‘flew’ you in the helicopter and to a town. The helicopter hovered over a building where my team and I repelled down and landed on the top floor. I walked to the window and had to reach out and pull a handle down that cut power to the building. I then had to walk across a board that led me to the next building. If you looked down all you saw was a couple stories to the ground. The VR made it seem like you were really high up in the air.
When crossing the board someone yelled at me to stop because of danger ahead. Then the board ahead of me broke in half and I had to finish crossing at a more narrow point. Once we reached the other building we heard gunshots. I found a taser gun and started shooting it at enemy combatants. Once I got through the first room I found myself on a balcony where I jumped off the ledge and zip lined to the ground.
Once I landed my VR was not working correctly and I could no longer see my arms in the VR setting. The next part was supposed to be me getting in a jeep and driving away from the action to safety but since the VR was not working they ended my scenario with the jeep being compromised by a bomb and running to safety. This was the end of my training.
Amazon did a great job with this idea. The staff was excellent and did a great job accommodating us; we did not know to wear close toed shoes and one of the workers traded shoes with us so we could do it. The VR had glitches and our group could not finish the entire scenario because of that but it was still fun and hopefully next year they will work out most of the kinks.
See more photos of the Amazon Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Experience below:
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