We visited a surprisingly detailed virtual Kmart

Of all the things you can build in VR, people are flocking to a digital Kmart.

VRChat is a social gaming platform where users can create and explore digital worlds. You might find live theater, a cyberpunk nightclub, or a spooky escape room.

Despite endless possibilities, one hot trend is…

… roleplaying at a virtual Kmart

VRChat Kmart” was created in 2019 by a guy known only as Eric, a former electronics manager at an IRL Kmart, of which just three remain.

Last week, the digital department store went viral on Twitter. Its Discord has 3.4k+ members, and some players even hold unpaid “jobs.”

Two told Vice the best part is all the people they’ve met while pretending to be Kmart associates.

I hadn’t been to Kmart…

… since mine closed to become a Britney Spears experience, so this weekend I went to Super VRChat Kmart Center.

I found a meticulous replica — a Kmart time capsule stocked with products like “The Sims 2” and Pepto Bismol. It also had:

  • A parking lot full of midsize sedans
  • PA system announcements
  • Bathrooms and a food court
  • A Bluelight Special — portable heaters, 90% off

Despite the quirky experience, VRChat has issues

It recently cracked down on “mods” — modifications players make to games, like this one that lets you play cat game “Stray” as Garfield.

It was supposed to stop bad actors mucking up the platform, but wiped out accessibility mods like closed captioning, pissing off players.

While VRChat has promised to fast-track similar features, it’s unclear if once-loyal players who’ve since rage-quit will return for Kmart nostalgia.

BTW: If you’re curious about VRChat’s other worlds, check out these unique experiences.

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