Following IAAPA I wanted to pay a visit to see my friend Tracee who now lives just outside of Tampa. Since she is living so close to one of the longest running Q-Zar locations (and one of the distinctive few still operating in the country) I suggested we go play some laser tag at Q-Zar Tampa.
We walked in and were immediately greeted by Zac Adams, the general manager who I had met at IAAPA earlier in the week when he was kind enough to share his perspective of Q-Zar as a longtime player who has been enjoying the game since 1987. Here’s what he had to say during our interview…
Zac then showed us around the place that still has a wonderful retro feel and we took a moment for some photos by their new selfie wall. This is a smart new addition (and great marketing tool) that had been added sometime after my last visit to this site.
Having learned from Zac about the history of the Q Babes I had to take a pic next to this creatively placed sign as well. ;)
Then he set us up for the next game and I observed the staff during the briefing as they did a commendable job with a very enthusiastic birthday party group. I took special note that one of the teenage game masters had a really nice demeanor with a particularly boisterous child as he walked over to the boy and said, “hey buddy, do what I’m doing…take a deep breath in and out” and he calmed the child down so that everyone could pay attention to the instructions. It’s nice to see staff who know how to work that well with kids.
Tracee and I suited up to go into the game.
Playing in a real Q-Zar arena is something pretty special because there are only three like this left in the entire United States (the others are located in Carle Place, NY and Concord, CA where I have played also). For Tracee it was a first-time experience, so that first game we got familiar with the space, the energizers and bases. By the next game we were ready to play with a more suitably competitive group of teens who had purchased the wristband option. I figured they were familiar with the game so Tracee and I teamed up and took turns taking out the other team’s base.
We both had a great time! Tracee gave me her take on the experience as a new player and Zac had offered perspective as a longtime player and both came to the same conclusion that the game is just tremendous fun. I was glad she enjoyed as much as I did…She was also very proud to report to her boyfriend later that night that she took second place in both games. :)
I had a chance to meet owners Brad and Ilya and let them know we had a great time. Tracee particularly appreciated being able to take her scorecard home and I commented about how much I love the atmosphere. I love that they have kept a wall mural (I featured on this blog the last time I visited) that has been up since 1996 and someone got a little creative turning a broken phaser into this adorable truck on display at the front counter.
I told Brad that the staff’s enthusiasm was what really made an impact. I also mentioned that it was the fact that they are still operating with Q-Zar that was the reason we were at this particular location (as opposed to any other laser tag site in the area) because that was what made it a special draw for me. If you are near Tampa (or either of the other two Q-Zars I mentioned) it is definitely going to either be a trip down memory lane or a fun new experience…it just depends on your perspective!
One other thing that is just a matter of perspective…the weather. In Florida this is how you know that the holidays are just around the corner…
I’m glad I got to experience some sunshine before returning to the reality of winter in New York! Thank you Q-Zar Tampa for being part of a fun day out with Tracee.
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com