Virtual On Oratorio Tangram
Image: Sega

A new offline meeting space called the Hakuba Virtual Off Center (HVOC) has recently opened in Nagano, Japan for fans of the Virtual On series, giving players a special place to meet up and play all of its original arcade entries (h/t: Game Watch/Forbes).

Virtual On — just in case you've never heard of it — is a cult-3D shooting and fighting game series starring giant mechas, which was originally developed by Sega AM3. It initially debuted in the arcades back in 1995 and later went on to spawn two more arcade games, a bunch of ports for home platforms, and a couple of console exclusives for PlayStation machines.

In 2009, following the release of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram on Xbox 360, a small group of Japanese fans started the "Virtual On Center" in the basement of Mokuzin ryokan in Hakuba, to share their passion for the series. Originally, this simply involved a few people getting together to play Xbox 360 games with Twin-Stick Ex controllers, but eventually, a bunch of arcade machines were also added to its collection, sourced from warehouses and other locations.

Hakuba Virtual Off Center
Image: Game Watch

The site became recognized online as an important landmark for the Virtual On community, but soon, it became clear to the founders that they needed more space. So it was decided that a crowdfund should be launched in order to build a new location.

As of June 9th, this new site is finally open, with its launch being marked by a special 4-hour livestream over on YouTube. Entry to the space is apparently ¥3000, while the opening times are 10am until 5pm. There are also reportedly extended opening times for those who are staying at the Mokuzin ryokan.