This past Saturday afternoon, I attended a bachelor party. Bachelor parties are often associated with strip clubs and other debauchery, but we bypassed those activities in favor of a different kind of mayhem. We headed to the Ultrazone Family Amusement Center where we’d be playing everyone’s favorite pseudo-sport from the 80’s: Laser tag!
Who remembers these commercials?
Apparently, laser tag is still around, and based on the crowd at Ultrazone, it is quite popular with children. Upon entering the facility, it was clear that the members of my group were BY FAR the oldest people there who weren’t accompanying children of their own. I’d say there was at least a twenty year gap between the youngest member of our group and the next oldest non-parent. This meant that our competition would consist of either children or chaperones just trying to get through the experience unscathed.
Before we could enter the “laser arena” we had to watch an instructional video that explained the rules of the game. This video alone might have been worth the price of admission, as the “actors” appear to be either Ultrazone employees or random people they hired off the street.
In another example of how awesome the internet is, I was actually able to find the video online!
Once the video was complete, we headed into the “vesting” room where we picked up our sensor vests and phasers. Each phaser had a code name so that you could identify your score after the game. Some phasers had cool names like “Tron” or “Kang”. I kept getting lame names like “Kinder” and “Rick.”
If you got hit in the shoulder sensors, you’d be “stunned” and would be unable to fire your phaser for five seconds. If it was a direct hit on the front or back, you would be “killed” and couldn’t fire for ten seconds.
Players were divided into three teams, and the goal was supposedly to capture the opposing teams’ bases by shooting a special sensor. Most people ignored the bases in favor of just shooting each other. Many times they didn’t even worry about what team someone was on. Teammate or not, everyone was fair game.
In one of the games, we were competing against a childrens birthday party that seemed to consist of about thirty ten-year-olds. I don’t think I even knew thirty people when I was that age, so he must have been one popular kid. Or maybe his parents were rich. They certainly couldn’t have been poor if they were paying for thirty kids to play laser tag.
The problem with facing large groups of children is that they tended to travel in packs. You’d be able to take out two or three of them, before being overwhelmed. Of course, this just meant that you could stand nearby, wait the ten seconds for your phaser to reactivate and then start shooting them again.
I was surprised by how sweaty I got. It was hot in the arena, but I was also exerting myself a lot more than I expected. Running away from a pack of children takes a decent amount of energy.
We had some time to kill in between games, and fortunately, the Ultrazone has an arcade complete with air hockey table. I don’t know if the table simply wasn’t designed to handle grown men, (or at least a close facsimile) but we had some difficulty keeping the puck on the table. The thing seemed to fly off every ten seconds.
Considering how many children were milling about, it was a miracle that nobody lost an eye. We actually lost one puck when it went soaring away, and got caught inside the facade of the nearby Fruit Ninja game.
That’s right, they had a Fruit Ninja game! If you love playing it for free on your smart phone, you’ll love paying to play it on a larger screen!
We were given a replacement puck, and remarkably, this one was even livelier. We all soon agreed to stop playing due to fear of maiming someone.
After four games of laser tag, we decided that was about all we could handle. While it might be surprisingly therapeutic to shoot children with lasers, there is a limit to how much trance music and blinking lights a person can endure.
For those who just can’t get enough laser tag, Ultrazone allows you to rent the facility for an all-night party. From 10 PM to 6 AM you can play unlimited games. While this might have seemed like the greatest idea ever during my college years, I don’t know if I could handle doing something like that these days.
For one afternoon, it was a lot of fun. Now I can’t wait until the Cutlet is old enough to have a party there. I might have to reluctantly volunteer myself as a chaperone!