Hey Dude, I’m Tagging in Tucson!
I had my first opportunity to play laser tag using a vestless Veqtor X Blaster while in Tucson, Arizona. And even though that was an amazing and unexpected surprise, you may be shocked to hear that laser tag was actually NOT the main reason that I traveled to this town.
I’ll start with the tag talk and then at the end of this post I’ll share the real reason I drove out to Tucson in the first place, which fulfilled a dream I’ve had since childhood and dates back almost as far as my connection with Photon!
My day started with a trip out into the desert to see one of the coolest non-tag related places I could have asked to visit, but as for what I’d call the coolest laser tag site in Tucson, it isn’t necessarily the one you’d expect. For me, I had the best time visiting Golf N Stuff, not because of the arena itself, but because of the unexpected laser tag gear that I found there once I arrived.
The laser tag arena is actually a mobile inflatable structure nearly identical to the one my friends in Syracuse use when taking laser tag on the road. However, this one is not intended to move, so I am counting it as a permanent arena.
I arrived at a quiet time when there was nobody playing laser tag, so of course I asked if a staff member could play against me. When I requested this I didn’t expect anything particularly out of the ordinary from the experience. I just wanted to count the site and make the most out of my detour to Tucson. At first I was told that this would not be allowed, but sometimes being a blogger does help to open doors and after explaining a bit about this blog to the manager he was kind enough to make an exception and allow me to play a 1v1 with a staff member after all. I am SO glad because what I discovered when I headed out to the arena was the best tag surprise of the day!
As I approached the arena, I was intrigued to see a row of taggers in a rainbow assortment of colors displayed out in front. I was not familiar with what I was looking at. When I took a closer look I was overjoyed to discover I’d get to have my very first laser tag experience with a Veqtor product!
These vestless Veqtor X Blasters have the entire game contained within the tagger unit that uses the body mold of the old Actual Reality phasers.There is no traditional trigger. There is instead a solid state metal touch sensor “trigger” that you tap with your finger to shoot while keeping the other hand on the metal circle in the front.
There is also a speaker on the back.
Since I have only gotten to play Actual Reality once (and couldn’t take photos at the time) I really enjoyed getting a close look at the body of this phaser. I did have the chance awhile back to interview Martin Shoebridge who was the co-founder behind the Actual Reality system and had great influence on other laser tag systems including Veqtor and it was interesting for me to review some of the history he shared with me in that interview after I returned home. You can find that interview here…
As for what was right here in front of me, I couldn’t wait to try it out. I was told that before entering the arena I would have to remove my shoes (ok, that’s the first time I’d been given that instruction at laser tag). So I did and placed them in a cubby.
And time to play!
I tried taking some video, but for reasons I don’t understand there was an unexpected strobe effect that appeared on the video (which was not present in the arena), so this clip just gives you an idea of what it sounded like.
And we played a light game of Veqtor where I was just enamored with every beep and buzz and sound that the phaser made because this system was all new to me. I had such a great time! I’m so glad I stumbled upon this site, never anticipating that I’d get to experience something so unexpected. At the end of the game we compared scores.
I know you can’t see my score, so just trust me for the result.
Sometimes when visiting a laser tag site you really can’t judge a book by its cover. This was well worth taking some time out of my day for the simple novelty of the system and I’m very appreciative that I got a chance to play Veqtor here at Golf N Stuff.
My other Tucson tag stop was a little more typical. Following my Veqtor adventure I headed over to Funtasticks Family Fun Park for some Zone.
This site is 5200 square feet and three stories high. They say it is Tucson’s largest indoor laser tag arena. Perhaps I missed something, but since the other site was an outdoor inflatable arena I’m going to venture to say that this may also be Tucson’s only indoor laser tag arena. If I’m mistaken somebody please correct me.
Here you can experience the Atlantis Laser Odyssey.
I don’t feel like I have enough to say about this experience to really warrant a separate post. It was an enjoyable game and the arena is indeed huge. A true three-story arena is a rarity to come across.
The base structures are a little unusual in that the bases are placed vertically inside, almost as if placed against a wall.
However, the thing that I will remember most is that it was dark…really dark. So dark that I don’t have much to show or share besides a quick selfie to capture the essence of it.
It was an enjoyable game, but if I could make one suggestion it would be that lighting makes a HUGE difference and with a huge arena like that, I would love to be able to see it better next time I visit.
So, after all that, what would be the one thing in Tucson even more exciting than getting to try out a laser tag system that I’ve never encountered “out in the wild” before? For me that would be getting to spend the morning visiting the set of one of my favorite television shows from my youth that dates almost as far back in my life as Photon. I’m talking about Hey Dude, filmed at the Tanque Verde Ranch in none other than Tucson, AZ.
Yes, I paid a visit to the set of this nostalgic television series and I am delighted to say that over 30 years later it is still standing out in the desert on a tucked away piece of land on this ranch that is iconic to those of us who grew up watching Nickelodeon in that era.
Before I share the pics I should preface this and say the Tanque Verde Ranch that is open to visitors is GORGEOUS and not reflected by these pictures that are just showing the remnants of the tv set. Admittedly after 30+ years the set is crumbling, but the ranch itself is a beautiful place where I would love to return to and stay. But these photos show something even more special and it is wonderful to know that the set is still here.
The main lodge exterior:
The registration desk and mail slots:
Thank you for indulging this little trip down nostalgia lane. It was such a treat to visit this set and made driving over two hours from Phoenix well worth it…especially since I got in some awesome laser tag as well!
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com