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Excited for EXO

I could not make a trip to California without planning a visit to LaserLand in West Covina (and next time perhaps I will get to their Mission Viejo location too) for the particularly rare opportunity of getting to play EXO laser tag. I was excited to get to play some EXO again with the Mark 1 equipment!

I had played using this equipment only once before, as right now these California locations are where it is available to be played in the US. Petr Putkoff, the Russian manufacturer of the EXO laser tag system, was in attendance at the Laser Tag Convention with me earlier in the week.

I appreciated his helping to coordinate my visit with LaserLand owner, Alexander Nekhaychik because my schedule was incredibly tight and this turned out to be my final stop before heading to LAX to fly back to the east coast.

One of the things I love best about this site is the platform “stage” they have with their logo brightly lit outside the arena entrance. This is a wonderful backdrop for photo opportunities and I wanted to make the most of it because there are so few opportunities for me to put on one of these EXO packs.

When Alex arrived he joined me for some of the photo fun while a group already inside the arena finished up their game before we headed in to join the next one.

When the next game was called I headed into the vesting room where it was decided we would play a game of Zombie tag. Guess who started out as the first Zombie?

Zombie tag is essentially your classic Infection-style game where the Zombie player’s goal is to tag the other players and turn their pack color, bringing them over to the other side. I took note of the starting screen on the back of my phaser (playing as Gizmo).

And as the game got underway I tried to pay attention to the sounds and details of the equipment. I noticed that when I tagged a player ad a Zombie it was not a typical “pew-pew” noise, but rather a zombie grunt. It was an inarticulate noise, but it fit both the game and the apocolyptic supermarket theme of the arena perfectly. What do you think the zombies are after in this game?

There are two arenas at LaserLand that could be opened into one large game space if warranted, but for this game we stayed in the supermarket setting, which had some vibrant accents on the wall that glowed brightly under the lights.

This was the most enjoyable game of Zombies I have played in awhile. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Even this guy!

We followed it up with another round and I got to play as a “human” this time.

I really like the EXO gear. It’s very intuitive and easy to play. Although I know they offer more complex game modes, this format was simple enough for the young players to enjoy, but also gave me a good refresher on how the system feels to play. I found it to be very comfortable and easy to jump into a game without the need for a lot of instruction. The packs were also very comfortable to wear and I like the aesthetic…it shouldn’t matter, but I just find these to have a clean, attractive look.

When our second game was done we checked the scoreboard. I took note of the interesting pack names.

And afterwards I enjoyed taking a few moments to chat with Alex and Noah about my impressions of the game and the arena. I am so glad I had this opportunity to return for another EXO laser tag experience. My last visit to LaserLand was about a year and a half ago with Erik Guthrie (also coinciding with the Laser Tag Convention) and I was reminded of that when I looked back at Petr Putkoff’s Go Lasertag vlog.

Both visits were unique opportunities for me to enjoy playing a system that at this point is still uncommon in the U.S., however I would love to see EXO grow its presence in the states because I had a wonderful time having the chance to play a really cool new laser tag system.

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