Ever since I got back from Texas people have been asking me “what’s next?” I’ve very recently figured out the answer to that question. My next laser tag goal will be to play in all the remaining Laser Quest centers in America (maybe I’ll add Canada down the road), so I went to Illinois this weekend to play at Norridge, Rockford and Downers Grove. I’ll only have seven more in the U.S. left to go after that.
To clarify, I certainly haven’t been to every LQ site that there ever was or even as many as I could have if I had this goal at another point in time, but looking at the current active site list I have already been to quite a few locations and I would love to play at all the rest in America. So I flew to the Chicago area and began with a visit to Laser Quest Norridge.
This was a great place to begin. I chatted a bit with manager Priscilla who has been with the company and this particular location for 17 years. That’s really impressive! She got me into a game right away which kept me right on schedule and gave me a chance to explore an arena that appeared to have a similar theme as the Sunrise location, but significantly amped up. Remember I said that I liked the “crystal castle” theme on my last trip? Well at Norridge this theme is present, but so much bigger and brighter matched up with a green sponge garden and a red space theme in the other tower areas. I really wish I could get some arena pictures for comparison, but trust me, this was a good one.
The game was light considering it was early in the day and I was sent in along with a party group, so I didn’t play hard. At the end of it all the staff announced my new goal to the group and were kind enough to present me with a monthly pass to help me along my journey. Thank you so much, that was incredibly nice!
Then we got some really special pictures with staff member Nicolina and Ranya…and the iconic spider-monster creation they call Og!
I left with a couple more magnets for my collection and some great memories of LQ Norridge.
The next LQ I visited was in Rockford.
When I walked in I could tell that this site had their hands full with a very enthusiastic (and somewhat chaotic) group of players anxious for the next game, There was a little more even a mix of players this time around with several teen and adult players mixed in among the group of exuberant twelve year olds. Now, I don’t know exactly what the hold up was, but once we got into the briefing room and the game had been explained there was some sort of delay for several minutes. Kudos to the game marshals who managed to keep this group in check with nothing but a big rubber ball that they started bouncing around the space until they got the go ahead to proceed. Once we did everyone was really ready to get into the game.
Now, most of the players enjoyed a typical game, but a few of those twelve year olds acted like…well, twelve year olds. A very noisy group of these kids tried loudly ordering me to “leave their tower” in that “delightful” way that boys that age sometimes behave when they’ve had too much sugar. Well, there may be strength in numbers, but there’s also satisfaction in understanding how the game works and where to aim for the sensors, so before too long they shared “their tower” after all. They decided to travel as one big group of fish in a barrel, so it was hard not to take the points after that. Due to them being so loud they were also tough to miss as they went around the arena as a pack. Because they didn’t know my name they started calling me Karen…I don’t know why, so every time I crossed paths with them they would yell “it’s Karen again!”. Then when we left the game they all raced over to check out the scoreboard.
They all started loudly asking “who’s Tivia?” and I must say I appreciated their awe when I said “I think you mean ‘Karen’.” So maybe that should be my alternate LQ codename. :)
The final LQ stop of my trip was in Downers Grove. I took some time for an excellent sushi dinner before heading over for an Ironman game.
Now this was more interesting competition. The group of players was entirely made up of young adults…except for one. There was a guy in a bright orange t-shirt who was clearly a regular there and chimed in to assist the new game marshal with the briefing. In the darkness of the briefing room this guy looked to be older than the rest of us, although later on in the light of the lobby I realized he was probably closer to my age. He played like someone who understood the game, but didn’t opt to move from his tower perch which he adopted early and where he stayed for the majority of the game. Meanwhile, the other players were on the move and I chose to pursue them directly. Usually I pace myself during an Ironman, but this game I expended a lot more energy early on and after a full day of tag (which included some non-LQ locations also) I was feeling a bit drained and although I put in all the effort I had left that guy beat me out for the first place score be a few hundred points. Nicely played Chevelier!
So by the end of one long day in northern Illinois I had checked three more Laser Quest centers off my list. I am really feeling fired up about playing at the rest and am formulating a plan to get to them all within this year, so watch for more travels to happen very soon!
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Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com