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A Little Spare Time

For the last two weeks I've wanted to visit a laser tag arena in Clifton Park that I stumbled upon while researching tournaments online. It's a place called Spare Time and the facility had just added laser tag a year ago, but somehow was not on my radar until recently. I figured I'd show up early and check the place out. When I arrived I found they were using Rift packs (not Nexus like I expected) feels like home already. The staff let me take a tour of the arena while waiting for an appropriate group to arrive and I got to tour a very artistically designed 2500 square foot space with an ancient tomb theme.

There were laser lighting effects that were very cool throughout the two base, single level maze.

Four guys in their 30s showed up and we went in as a small group together (preferable to being lumped in with the birthday party of kids waiting on deck). We watched a Sims-like instructional video before being let into the vesting room. Since there were only five of us we decided to play free for all. That's always fun. :)

This game played SMOOTH. The beams on these phasers were vivid, fully visible and cut through the arena like butter with every shot. this how the equipment is supposed to work? Just kidding...sort of. But it was a treat to play with a pack that worked so well and connected with its target so cleanly. This was a nice gaming experience!

This was a good first round for trying out the space. I have to wonder if this is a newer version of the system because the bases were similar, yet ever so slightly different when it came to deactivating. And the beams were as bright as Quest...only green. So it was both very familiar and yet a fresh experience at the same time.

How'd I fare? First place as Predator...I felt a little predator-like in the process.

The second game was a different climate. Some kids went into this game, so I decided to team up with the kids to assist them in playing against the other adults, which included random players, but also their moms. I spent some time in the beginning giving the youngest ones a tutorial in shooting the base...during which time I was an open target. Astoundingly, it was the moms who were the ones opting to exploit that vulnerability as I was teaching their kids what to do! Well, after the kids were well on their way to base goals I went to make up for lost time and get back some points. The other players who jumped in were quite good. I'd love to play this arena on a busier night. But it was relatively quiet, likely because of the earlier hour of the evening, so after two games I went on my way.

While this is a small space and not a particularly competition-oriented arena (which is fine, it's not proclaiming to be) it was a really enjoyable experience and would be well worth a detour or a combined trip next time I play in the Albany area.

Next I went over to Zero Gravity. Now, here's the irony. I really love to play in this arena. I showed up, there were 20 college aged, hyped and aggressive players ready to go (and yes, I did my Tivia thing...was Leonardo the first game, even though I'm not wild about that pack).

But the Infusion equipment here, hate to say it, feels so rickety compared to what I just played with. The smaller, less competitive arena has way better packs. If only I could merge the best facets of my favorite arenas. I'd love to use those packs from Spare Time in the arena at Zero Gravity with the base structure and competitive atmosphere of Fun Junction. Honestly, my hand hurt coming off of the first game at Zero Gravity. And after that game I was immediately pegged as the one to beat as one player told his team "everybody go after this girl" while pointing at me before the next game. It's cool, I'm ready. This was actually the start of an undefeated streak for me this night.

A few games in I had my best round of the evening. Not only because it was my high score for the night (I won this round as Dark Angel), but more because I enjoyed taking first in a game where each of the game masters played on a team too. Sweet. The guys jumped into the game and I always enjoy a higher level of competition, so garnering the top score in this round meant a little bit more.

I played one more round before calling it a night. This was an enjoyable evening from start to finish and, because there is only a short drive between these two centers, when I am in the Albany area I will try to plan my nights so that I can enjoy time at both laser tag facilities. They are totally different experiences, but both offer a great time!

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