I admit, I have spent a lot of time at gaming arcades and thankfully neither of my parents had an issue with it. Let’s just put it this way, they didn’t know I was there. But they are aware that gaming formed a very deep part of my constructive years, so much so that I spent hours playing Contra, NFS, Road Rash, Claw, FIFA and even F1.
So, when I got a call to come to Smaaash, Lower Parel and check out their F1 simulator, I was prepared and honestly in a very jolly mood. I was going to drive a car, around a virtual track and then write about my experience, how hard was it going to be?
As I entered the lair where this priceless machine was kept, I was given a brief about the Simulator. “Everything works together and is electronically operated and don’t be afraid of the vibrations you may feel or the 2.5G’s that you may possibly experience” Though the first half of this sentence might have evoked a ‘duh! It’s a simulator’ response’, it was the second half I didn’t comprehend. So I asked him what he meant by vibrations and the G-Force?
He explained saying that,”The racing simulator is designed on a Six Degrees of Freedom platform (6 DOF) and simulates 4ft height, which creates realistic movements of a professional racing car and also creates G Force to be felt by the racers.”
I nodded my head and got into the seat. The bucket seat thundered as I watched the red lights turn green.
A rookie to this scenario, I planted my foot on the accelerator and the car blasted out onto the track. 1 lap down I was way behind the rest of the competitors and eventually I crashed out. I demanded another go and this time it was better. I was running 3rd out of the 5 drivers on track when suddenly the car behind nudged me and I went into a spin. They offered me another go and this time I was way ahead of the rest. 2 laps around the track in first place and just as I got into the groove for another fast lap, I was told that my 3 minutes were up. I jumped out of the seat with the adrenaline still flowing through my veins. Frankly, I wanted more!
The F1 Simulator, which cost these guys more than a crore was every bit worth all that fun. I could do this everyday, no wonder Michael Schumacher has one at his home. From what I learnt later Smaaash is one of the three places in the world to have this kind of Simulator. They have one at Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi and as I said earlier the other at Schumis house.
There are 3 levels to this simulator – Beginner, Semi Pro and Pro and you also have the option of changing gears manually. The three minute virtual track time costs only Rs. 250 and there are always prizes up for grabs. They even give you the option to become a pit crew member and change the tyre in less than 5 seconds.
But, if you’re not the F1 buff, there are other things at Smaaash to keep you occupied. A state-of-the-art virtual cricketing experience, where you bat for your life as you face some tormenting swing bowling by the likes of Wasim Akram or some spin by Shane Warne. There are a number of bowlers you can choose from. In fact, the virtual world is so real, that if you are playing against International players, you have to wear all the safety guards and only then will you be allowed inside to play on the pitch.
Smaaash even gives you a chance to win a Harley Davidson, that is if you can stick 8 penalty kicks at the back of the net, by dodging a motion sensor monitored goal keeper (which I found out is next to impossible). They even have a bowling alley and other things to keep both the children and the adults occupied and of course there is food.
Well, my day was made. I got my date with F1, football, bowling, cricket and I was willing to go for another round. So, if you are up for that kind of competition, I say, you make your way to Lower Parel, Mumbai and try to Smaaash some records!