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Road Trip to New Jersey – Launch Delran

I would have liked to have made this trip during the grand opening weekend, but my schedule took me to Canada last week instead, so I rescheduled my road trip to New Jersey specifically to check out the new Launch Delran location. As of my visit on Saturday this was one of only four laser tag sites in the United States to have Helios 2 installed. Fun fact…this site was actually one of the first three Helios 2 sites being installed virtually simultaneously at the beginning of February. It was interesting to see which one would actually get to claim “first” because from what I understand the installations were all happening pretty much within hours of each other, so this is a big deal to be among the very first sites with the new equipment. And with only four sites in all of America having Helios 2 right now you know I had to pay a visit to check this place out!

Having just recently visited Launch Lansing in Michigan I wondered how similar the two locations might be. I was pleasantly surprised to find that each had a really distinctive uniqueness and although they had similar activities each was original in their look and vibe. Each is built around trampolines as the main attraction, but this place also included a nice concession area with seating and of course, laser tag!

This site is owned by former NFL player Jason Avant so I figured it was worth asking whether he’d indulge an interview about the new business. Although he wasn’t there the day I visited, I talked with general manager Daniel who made sure I could get into a game right away.

He paired me up with staff member Karina to do a 1v1 in the arena. As soon as I walked in I was intrigued. I had expected a CW design (probably because that’s what I saw in Lansing), but I’m genuinely not sure that this was their work or if I could even identify it just by the design aesthetic. This is actually a good thing because if I can identify it then I’ve seen it too many times before and that was not the case here. It was very nicely put together to be a bit softer and kind of reminded me of stage design for a play. The theme was going for a fantasy backyard kind of feel with trees and fencing as well as the bus (homage to the entryway) being carried by hot air balloon painted on one of the back walls.

It was a single level arena, but utilized two ramps to give the feel of an additional level.

Bases located underneath the clock towers were no surprise.

But what I did find interesting was the amount of targets in this arena. Now I am guesstimating at both these numbers, but I would be surprised if this arena was much larger than 2500 sq feet at most, so it’s on the smaller side. However, there were no less (and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more) than a dozen targets, mostly lined up on the upper edge of the arena, predominantly on one side. This is more targets than I think I’ve ever seen in an arena of this size!

Each of the red targets made an explosion sound when it was hit, which made it a bit more fun to tag the sequentially…boom, boom, boom, cycle and repeat. And you can see from the scoreboard that I spent more time zeroing in on those targets than player tags.

At one point I figured I’d better pay more attention to my opponent so the game master would know that I actually knew what I was doing and wasn’t just distracted by the “pretty red lights” in there, lol! We finished out the round and I thanked them for getting me in to try the system again. I really like everything I’ve experienced with Helios 2. It plays smoothly and accurately and I think is a good match for a location like this where undoubtedly they will have a lot of kids trying this out for the first time. The atmosphere really works for that and I wish them lots of success. I stopped by the snack bar for some mozzarella sticks for the road before saying goodbye to Launch Delran. I’m very glad this site gave me a reason to make the trip!

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