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Twinning Arenas

I’ve been fortunate enough to play in quite a few laser tag arenas (145 as of this writing) which has afforded me the chance to compare a lot of different map layouts, game styles and design aesthetics. And one thing that I’ve noticed is that a lot of arenas really look a lot alike, which is why I always comment when I see one that is distinctively different. I can identify the hallmarks of a Creative Works arena instantly (and that is not a criticism, just a statement of fact) and that is fine because they make some cool looking props and walls. However, I recently noticed a phenomenon that I want to discuss…twinning arenas.

I’m not talking about identical layouts since every space is different. I’m also not talking about corporate consistency (such as seeing that neon spider-monster painted on the walls at every Quest arena that hasn’t been recently updated or the tubes and arches that are easily identifiable as specific to Tron). No, what I’m talking about is the sense of déjà vu that I get when I see arenas that unintentionally have the same look as many others out there…and they probably don’t even know it. I was prompted to look back on photos from my previous blog entries after my most recent trip to Long Island. Let me illustrate my point with a few photos side by side for comparison from several different arenas.

These pics were taken at three different arenas. Again, this is absolutely not a criticism, just an interesting (to me) observation. I enjoyed playing at all these places and I also realize that it’s quite unlikely that anyone else is ever going to compare and contrast with pics like this so the fact that there are similarities to “somewhere out there” has zero bearing on having an enjoyable experience. But to me I can’t help but both smile and groan every time I notice what I call “those walls” that seem to pop up everywhere I go. :) The thing about patterns is you don’t always see them emerge right away, so I wonder if there are examples I’ve seen that I did not document in photos. Probably. But as I look back on the pictures I did take (based on what was most interesting to me at the time) I’ve noticed a few other examples of twinning arenas and I just think this is kind of a fun thing to take a look at. I have noted on the picture the name of the arena where it was taken.

More examples of “those walls” taken at other arenas besides the ones shown above…

I will concede that the walls at Bounce Milwaukee seem to be a slight variant.

This airbrushed cowboy showed up in a couple of locations. It’s coincidence I liked it enough to photograph it in both spots without even realizing there was a pattern until later. Next time I see a western theme you KNOW I will be looking for him to turn up again. :)

Here are some very similar flaming pyramids among the Aztec ruins at three different arenas…

And finally, this industrial prop looked very cool the first time I saw it. At this point I’ve seen it now a few times…

Uncanny? What can I say, I find this kind of thing interesting and I hope you do as well. These were all great places to play tag and the design elements are definitely impressive the first time you see them, but for me being aware of this pattern just reinforces it when I find a truly unique arena. I’ll be exploring some arenas in the southern part of the U.S. fairly soon so I look forward to seeing what similarities or distinct differences I find along that journey as I continue towards my goal of playing laser tag in all 50 states! :)

Comments or Questions?


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