Actually Playing Actual Reality
On my way to Baltigeddon I planned my route to include stops at a couple of laser tag centers along the way. The first of these stops was to Planet Trog in Whitehall, PA.
This place was particularly intriguing to me because they still run the Actual Reality laser tag system. In fact I am told they are the very last center in the world to still operate with these packs because the company behind this equipment ceased operating 15 years ago. Some history about this can be found on the Laser Tag Museum's website.
Did you check out those pics of the equipment? Good...because that's all I have to show you. Unfortunately, for reasons that are a mystery to me, the owners of this center would not permit me to take a photo wearing one of the Actual Reality packs that I used while playing at their center. I am confounded as to why, especially as we spent a great amount of time pleasantly chatting beforehand and they did allow me to take pictures in the arena and the lobby. They shared a wealth of information with me about their center and this game and I explained this blog and my love of all things related to laser tag history...but I was still denied the chance to take the one photo I really hoped for which would have been great to share here. So, let me register my disappointment about this, but then move on to share the rest of my experience playing here.
Although there are at least two other places that I know claim to be the world's largest laser tag arena (Stratum in Mesa, AZ cites a 13,000 square foot laser tag arena - http://www.stratumhq.com/ and Laser Rock at The Edge in Belleville, IL sells a t-shirt that says "World's Largest Laser Tag Arena" - https://www.edge618.com/) this place in PA also claims to be the Largest in the U.S. - http://planettrog.com/laser.html at 12,000 square feet. I'm posting all three websites with their respective claims as I honestly don't know which one is correct. Regardless, this one was a pretty big and impressive arena on a single level and it was incredibly artistic. There were some very unique touches, most notably a large papier mache cactus and some colorful neon rock type structures as well as large tripod-ish structures on each side to house the base.
Roper got me set up with the pack and briefed me on shooting with the Actual Reality phaser. He told me to touch the two metal circles on the bottom front of the phaser using my thumb and index finger and then pull the trigger. This phaser was a little different in that it appears speed triggering is the key to success. You could shoot in a machine gun option, but this would deplete your shields. Another option was to unleash a "grenade" by pulling the trigger first and then touching the metal circles. There were no lights on the shoulders, only on the front and it shot with a red beam. In the free for all game I played with employees Matt and Roper I was instructed to recharge by either shooting directly up onto the base or by shooting at a green box next to one of the spotlight points throughout the arena. The three of us played a round and I enjoyed exploring the space and getting the feel for this game.
I can imagine this is all the more enjoyable when there are more players. I was told they have quite a few packs and can accommodate large groups with all that space. I give them props for keeping this running with DOS and Windows 98 technology and appreciate the education I got from Kevin and Ron about their game and their facility.
After the game we were given our scorecards...
Thanks to Matt and Roper for giving me the chance to play against some skilled competitors, but also explaining things as the game progressed. I had a great time and was glad we could take a selfie in the lobby...
And I also appreciate the sticker for my tag swag collection. Thanks!
Comments or questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com