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Down the Thunder Road

You can’t visit a place called Thunder Road in Fargo, ND without singing a little Springsteen along the way!

When I arrived I met the owner, James, over by the go-karts and he walked me over to their Laser City Laser Tag arena inside the main building. He explained to me that since his family took over operations of this site in 2017 they had made upgrades to nearly all the attractions (with more still to come) and one of the changes was going from Lazer Runner to Zone Helios 2 at the beginning of 2019. I was definitely excited to check this out!

While the H2 gear is newly among my favorites to play, the arena itself is the most interesting element of this site. I joined a group in the vesting area and we put on our packs. Then we walked up a flight of stairs, which gave me a moment of pause only until I saw how they fit into the arena design.

It’s no secret on this blog that I am not generally a big fan of stairs in an arena, however, once inside I realized they serve a different kind of purpose. By going up the stairs first this positions the game to begin on the upper-most level (and end with a return to the briefing room on the lower level). This is clever because it is a tiny bit disorienting the first time and you have to figure your way through a really unique space.

It’s a 5000 square foot multi-level arena that feels like three levels, but I include the ramp areas as part of that assessment. The first thing I noticed when I got to the top was that this arena, while lit with black lights was dark. I mean DARK like I was treading lightly until my eyes adjusted. However, once they did I was thoroughly engaged by the space. Lots of interesting paths with shapes cut into the walls to make the “terrain” of the post-apocalyptic theme.

I had trouble visualizing a game of Runner in this arena, but with the H2 beams it makes sense. Certain systems really do play quite differently depending on the arena.

The lower level had the most interesting aesthetic. I absolutely LOVE this multi-arched tunnel!

Lighting is everything here. There was one other showpiece element on the bottom floor that stands out, which is this EMS/ambulance station. I really don’t get it’s connection to the theme, but I thought it was a cool piece where again it was the lighting that took it up a notch.

I looked at this ten minute game as my rehearsal time before the event I was headed to later in the evening. Looking back on my blog to see when I last played where, it has been a solid year since I’ve had my hands on an H2 phaser, so this was some worthwhile practice indeed. It was also a very cool arena to check out. Last time I was in Fargo I was pressed for time and had to pass this one by, but considering the upgrades, I’m glad I had the chance to check out Thunder Road during the course of this trip!

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