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More Than Meets The Eye

My final stop in Michigan before returning for the rest of the tournament was to Bowlero Lanes Fun Center with Zap Zone Laser Tag in Battle Creek, MI.

This site was impressive beyond my expectations! Upon arrival I purchased my game and realized that a group had just gone in, so I asked if I might be able to join the game that had just started, however I was just a little too late, so I had to wait for the next one. That gave me some time to sit and observe what was going on in the lobby. I thought there must be some kind of event because there were a TON of random characters enjoying the night dressed in what appeared to be mascot-type costumes. I chatted with one of them…

I was told they were a group of furries just enjoying a night out. What would have been amazing would have been to get this group in a laser tag game, but since most had costumes that covered their faces it also may have been dangerous in a dark arena, so instead I was really appreciative to be able to play against some seasoned staff members, Nolan and Chase, who helped to accommodate my being able to experience a game here and still get back in time for the rest of my evening plans back in Fort Wayne.

Let me tell you, this arena was definitely more than meets the eye! I’ve played at plenty of laser tag arenas inside bowling alleys and family entertainment centers where typically they are small and something of an afterthought. This was NOT the case here at all! After suiting up with the Cyber Blast gear game master Lily let us enter and what I walked into was an ENORMOUS arena that was beyond anything I had expected (and these photos really don’t do it justice).

There were (at least) three ramps to access multiple levels with two distinctly separate upper tower levels and one ramp going straight up a separation in the middle. This was a unique design and with only three of us in the game it made things a bit more challenging because once I realized I was on one upper level side of the arena and the two guys were on the other there was no convenient way to cross over, so the only thing to do is keep an eye out for movement and take long shots that cut straight across the arena. I actually really liked that a lot!

Now, I did explore how to get to the other side, which as near as I could tell required going back down to the lower level and figuring out the path through the maze (and it is a really complex route for a newcomer to traverse). I tried to make note of where the “landmarks” were such as the replicated Eiffel Tower and pyramid structure.

I’m impressed with the arena design. It is anything, but typical! However, having played at several Zap Zone locations before, there were a few familiar hallmarks as well. I’ve noticed that the other Zap Zones I have played tend to use cut-out geometric designs for windowing their walls and this site had those elements as well.

One thing I regret not asking was what (if any) relationship there is between Zap Zone and Bowlero because I was not expecting to find the complete Zap Zone experience inside a differently branded FEC. Actually, this made the experience more impressive because the laser tag was certainly an attraction in its own right and not shadowed by the other entertainment available at this facility. I had a wonderful time playing here and thank the staff for making sure I was able to have an excellent experience. If I had more time I would definitely have enjoyed getting in a few more games. But I still had a full night of tournament competition ahead of me, so instead I thanked them for a great time at Bowlero Lanes with Zap Zone in Battle Creek. I hope I get a chance to return!

After this full day of laser tag and travel I was ready to return to Indiana and take a dinner break (it was 10:30 at night by the time I met up with Amber for dinner and I had not stopped for lunch this entire day!) and some time to chill and get into a competitive mindset for the remainder of the night.

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