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Mother always tells you if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all…so this post may be short. The nicest thing I can say about my experience at Lost Worlds Adventures in Livermore was that at least the laser tag equipment works. And perhaps my experience there is not the norm, but on the particular day I visited it did leave me a little cold.

Now to keep things positive, they do have a really cool dinosaur theme all throughout their business, so I will give props for aesthetic and design. This was clearly a high traffic kids party location.

However the issues I had include the following, that again (benefit of the doubt) could have just been the result of my showing up at a busy time. BUT…

  1. There was a great deal of confusion, even among the staff, about what games were being called (and when) by color coded pass or party groups. I believe some games were just not called when they should have been. After an extended wait time we were let into the briefing room, then asked to wait outside and then let back in a moment later because of confusion over a birthday group that entered ahead of the public round. Just really chaotic.

  2. No actual briefing was done before the game. Sure, I know how to play, but this was a public round where clearly some people were here for the first time. We spent at least ten minutes in the briefing room with no employee engagement. I sat on the floor as there was no seating in this briefing room. The adults were getting irritated and the kids were getting rowdy. As more time passed and we had been told “five more minutes” more than once, the kids in the room decided to demonstrate how long five minutes really is and began loudly counting down the seconds in unison…yeah, we were in there for a whole lot longer. My main issue here isn’t the actual time it took to get into a game. It was that all that extra time spent in the briefing room should have been used for, well…briefing. The game master should have been going over game instruction. There was none.

  3. I would have liked to speak to someone on the phone before arriving, but several calls yielded nothing but an automated message where I could leave a voice message if I wanted someone to call me back. I did not…I wanted to talk to a person, not a machine.

  4. And this note is really more for my friends at Zone as this was the first time I had experienced this particular element…once I got into the game I was startled unpleasantly by the blast of fog that burst downward from above when I deactivated the base. I have never experienced this feature in any other arena before and I was not thrilled to have fog shot down at me. So to both the management and to the manufacturers of this feature, I’m sorry, but WTF?!!! Not cool.

Although this wasn’t my best experience of my trip I did try to enjoy the game.

Now this was not the only stop where my experience was less than pleasant. I was dissatisfied with a different location because I never actually made it into the arena. While I was passing through San Jose I had plotted a stop at a place called The Jungle Island where I had seen online that they operate with Lasertron equipment. This seemed like more of a kids place (as many are), but you never really know what to expect until you check it out. You can’t always predict just based on the name or the website. Hey, I played Jungle Rapids and that site was great so how was I to know what Jungle Island would be like until I stopped by. So I drove a little out of my way to get there and upon arrival I could see that this was both incredibly kid oriented and nearly empty. So I explained my reasons for being there to the girl at the counter and asked if an employee could do a 1v1 with me so I could at least say I checked out this arena. She went to check with her manager (certainly, fine, I explain myself and this blog to managers frequently). Now here’s the bummer. When she returned, even though I had driven all this way just for the laser tag, I was not even allowed past the front gate as I was told that “they were not allowed to let me in without a child.” I’m so rolling my eyes now. Although I’m sure there are safety reasons behind this policy I have never once been told I couldn’t even enter a laser tag site. Clearly this was not a place that would have been ideal for playing anyway, but I was still surprised by this response. So I decided it was just time to move along.

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