Our final laser tag stop on Saturday night was to Planet Play and Area 51. They have a very cool looking website and upon walking into the center we found there was a wall of monitors with cameras tracking the activity of the current game being played in the arena.
The outer part of the center was deceptively sparse compared to the arena in the back, but once we were led down a very artfully painted space-battle themed hallway we found ourselves in a small, but impressive briefing area. OK, briefing areas are hardly ever more than a small room with risers, perhaps accented by cool lighting or design concepts, but this one was the most impressive we'd been in today, mostly by virtue of the large screen they used to project the briefing video, which was also the best we'd viewed today.
I found it a little bit interesting that every place we went to today used a video to go over the equipment and rules of the game (all similar, but different) when up until this point I believe a gaming attendant has given the instruction in person at every other facility I've gone to. However, this video briefing was clever and engaging, so props to whomever put this one together.
When the video was done I asked the game master about the system in play. I knew going in that this facility was using the Laser Blast system and according to what I found online I was expecting that they too used Hyper Blast (like the center we went to in Hamilton). However, their display monitor identified the game as Zeta Blast. I asked what the difference was between Hyper Blast and Zeta Blast since until today I had never played either. He didn't have an answer for me on that, so I resorted to the internet for answers, but I am still not sure I have a handle on it, so if anyone reading can clue me in I welcome you to post a comment or send an email to enlighten me.
The game master gave us the choice to play a stealth game as the final game of the night. He explained that once the round started the lights in the arena would be turned off and so would the lights on our packs (although they would still register hits) and the only things we would see lit up were the tiny screens on the back of the phasers. There were no bases active for this game. Ultimately that meant we had to basically rely on the accuracy of our shots in the darkness. I had never played a game like this before and I must say it was a blast (a Zeta Blast - tee-hee) to maneuver a new arena in the darkness. This was one of the coolest forms of laser tag I've played. I appreciate the flexibility that was offered to afford us this option of game play.
The phasers in use at this arena were one-handed. I personally feel a greater sense of control with my shots when I play two-handed (even if I don't need to) so I held mine the way I am more comfortable. Even when I play Laser Runner with the odder shaped phaser I still feel like something is off-kilter when I am only using one hand. What can I say, I'm a creature of habit. I liked the entire experience I had at this center (except for Paul coming in ahead of me this round...eh, it happens). And although this was not an enormous arena in terms of total square footage and it was only one-level I thought they used the space well, had creative cutouts in their obstacles (so you couldn't feel too secure in your cover) and was definitely a place I would happily play again.
Laser tag is something I really love to do, so I was glad to be able to share the experience with some of my closest friends that I don't get to see all that often because of geography. I enjoy playing laser tag with Paul almost anywhere because he is competitive like I am. Ankur seems to get into it with an enthusiasm that is similar to mine. Garth has a good time no matter what we're doing and moves very stealthily through the arena. TJ is game for almost anything and did well plunged into a sport he didn't know much about before today. Thanks guys for making this trip even more fun for joining me for a few rounds and experiencing Canadian laser tag with me :) If you have comments or questions please visit my website at www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com or email me at email@example.com.