A high-tech virtual reality (VR) gaming centre is to open at the Pavilion Shopping Centre, Thornaby-on-Tees, which includes a unique simulator game making its UK debut.

The Gaming Hideaway is due to open in the North Yorkshire town on May 17, subject to government guidelines, after it agreed a five-year lease for a 3,500 sq ft unit at 20, St Peter’s House, with commercial property and investment company LCP, which manages the centre.

It is the first gaming venture for Kaiyn and Rachel Crooks, who have invested a six-figure sum in the exciting family entertainment concept.

The Gaming Hideaway comprises more than 20 gaming stations, five VR stations, simulators – including the 360 VR Rollercoaster Simulator  that turns 360 degrees and can take gamers on a number of adventures, including simulated rollercoaster rides or space travel. It also boasts an escape room, more than 20 private booth gaming stations with 43” TV screens, headsets, leather recliners, PlayStation and Xbox gaming stations with access to more than 100 games, and racing stations with 65” screens.

An on-site café will also be available and parties can be booked when guidelines allowed.

Rachel said: “We’re excited to be launching our business in the Pavilions Shopping Centre. We devised this concept pre-Covid and because of the way the gaming centre will operate, we haven’t had to change it.

“The centre can accommodate 24 gamers at a time and they must book a two-hour session. When they have finished there is a 15-minute slot that enables all equipment to be cleaned thoroughly. It is naturally a socially distanced activity so we won’t be required to reduce the number of gamers on site.”

 Kaiyn, a supervisor in the renewable energy industry, and Rachel, who owns a cleaning business, have created 17 full-time jobs with their latest venture.

Mark Horsfield, centre supervisor, said: “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome such an innovative family gaming centre to the Pavilion Shopping Centre and are looking forward to its opening. We’ve no doubt this will be extremely popular with visitors.

“With the opening of Microshops for fledgling retailers and now The Gaming Hideaway coming to the centre, this is an exciting time for the centre and for our shoppers.”