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Awakening the Living Arena

Following the convention, I was off to Arkansas and my first stop upon arrival was to Hogwild Family Fun Center in Fort Smith, AR. Now, this happened to be mid-morning on a Thursday at which time the kids were still in school, so I was just glad to find any laser tag site open for business at the odd hour when I walked through the door. I found Buddy Grimes, the owner of this site (and their sister site in Conway, AR) training a new employee, Steven. I think they probably found it just as unusual to have me show up in the middle of a weekday wanting to play, but they were happy to accommodate. As it turned out I think this worked out quite well because I got to check out their 4000 square foot neon bright “Living arena” featuring Gen 7 Laserforce equipment and this gave Steven a chance for both training as a game master and his first chance to actually play laser tag against me.

Buddy asked (directed at Steven) “do you know how to give a briefing?” to which I said “yes”…oops, this is your show! So, he gave me the standard instruction with some additional feedback from Buddy at which point I picked up on something I don’t usually hear. He explained about the targets in the center of the arena and how he doesn’t usually tell people, but if you shoot the targets 20 times the arena will attack back. To be honest, although I have encountered this feature in a few arenas here and there (sometimes themed, for example as a snake protecting her eggs) I really was not aware of the shot count or specifically what actions triggered it, so I decided this was a great opportunity to get a better look at it and try my hand at deliberately awakening the arena.

The arena is basically one level, but does have a very playable raised area that let’s you overlook the majority of the field.

However, the bases are tucked away on the back wall at each end of the arena so they are afforded a bit of protection. I absolutely love the way the neon colors pop! This is the kind of arena I love to play because it isn’t the same old thing I see over and over a lot of places. It has a uniqueness to it with a touch of a retro feel.

I also love the aesthetic of some of the walls outside the arena. I think it is so smart when I see a site with a wall that practically screams “take a photo here” so that they can benefit from customers inevitably posting it on social media…like this one.

Buddy sent me off with a souvenir cup and a cold drink to cool down with as it felt like summer in the middle of this day in March!

I really enjoyed my visit to Hogwild and was so glad that I had a chance to visit!

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