Advertising works, my friends, advertising works. I don't say that just because it's my business, but it’s the reason I have this story to share, so here's an anecdotal example of how I know it to be true.
While driving north on route 75 heading through Fort Myers towards the Sarasota airport again (the less obvious route home from Miami, lol) I noticed a billboard that said "HeadPinz...more than just bowling. Laser Tag. Next exit." Well, I just about flew across several lanes of traffic to get over to the exit for this! It was an unexpected surprise because even though of course I had done a search online for laser tag along my route, it didn't look like there was much opportunity for tag until closer to Tampa. When I saw this opportunity I was very excited (and ready for a break from driving) so I was ready for whatever system of laser tag they had to offer. Pulling into the parking lot I noticed the side of their building had a wall mural (more good advertising) featuring some Zone imagery. I hoped that was what we'd be playing, but I've learned not to put too much stock in the photo as quite often the reality is something completely different…and that was the case here as the actual system in use was Cyber Blast. But that's still among my favorites, so I was definitely ready to play.
What I found to be the next unexpected surprise was that this arena was awesome! Such a terrific find! Sometimes I have a tendency to think that laser tag takes a backseat in FECs where the main emphasis is on bowling, but that was certainly not the case here. This was a spacious arena with a really "cool" (play on words) and ironic theme. You see after getting a sunburn on South Beach the day before and spending a large part of this day out in the blazing Florida heat it was kind of funny to walk in and find that this place turned up the chill with an ice cave theme!
The entrance was designed to look like an igloo or cave covered in ice. Then they kept the theme going through the briefing area....
And then into the arena that was decorated with snowshoes, sleds and more to add to the motif.
You could get a good view of it all from the upper half-level running along one upper wall and accessible by ramps on either side.
And something else that you could see well from that vantage point (which unfortunately I could not get a picture of) was the projection on the wall. This I did not expect at all and wish I had noticed a little earlier in the game. An animation of a gorilla popped up every so often. The game master said it correlated with a timer. There was also an avalanche animation that I believe may have been synced to base deactivations. I'm not certain as I could not see it when I took my bases, but that's what I believe was happening there. This was not a full wall projection, but that didn't matter. It was an incredibly impressive touch. I do not believe it was one of the interactive projection targets like I had seen at the Laser Blast booth at IAAPA (someone please correct me if I am mistaken), but it was very cool nonetheless.
I left that game feeling pumped up and thoroughly impressed with this site. I'm so glad that I saw their billboard and was able to add this final stop before leaving Florida. It was a great trip with a lot of great memories. Here's one that has nothing to do with tag, but is worth sharing. I've mentioned that I am a gecko mama to my little lizard Leon. However, one of the coolest things about touring the Everglades was getting to visit with the alligators this region is known for. So here I am with a significantly bigger reptile...meet Casper the alligator!
Here's another wristband challenge. If you think you know WHY my lizard is named Leon and what the laser tag connection is then drop me an email. If your answer is correct I'll send you a glow in the dark Laser Tagging America wristband (U.S. entries only, please). And thank you to HeadPinz of Fort Myers for a great tag experience. Getting to play at your arena was a wonderful unexpected surprise!
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com