This week Laser Quest (Versent Corporation) confirmed via their website and social media that they will not be able to reopen their sites in North America, all of which are currently closed. However, two other important pieces of information also accompany this news. First, that eight of their U.S. sites will re-open under new ownership and second, that three of their Canadian sites have been purchased by Planet Lazer.
Presumably this means that those Canadian sites will likely be operating with Lasertron equipment, but I’d like to focus on the more positive news about those eight U.S. sites reopening under new ownership...and in spite of what some players may think, I really do believe this is positive news. It certainly beats not having any Laser Quest in the states at all, which was what was being speculated by some people about a month ago when quite a few players were throwing a premature funeral for Laser Quest. On this website I gave credence only to the facts I could obtain directly from Laser Quest corporate (quoted directly from president Jeff Morris) and I think that we can get a much clearer perspective at this point about how things are actually playing out. It appears that we are starting to see them show more of the cards on the table.
Last year I made a very cognizant effort to play at every Laser Quest that remained in the United States as of the end of 2019. I completed that goal in November by playing at my 300th laser tag arena which was Laser Quest Wichita, just shortly before they closed permanently. Unfortunately, there were quite a few LQ locations that closed even prior to COVID and I wanted to visit all that I could while I was still able to, never guessing that the clock would be running out for other reasons. In fact, I had fully intended to play my final few LQ locations in Canada this summer, which would have included Regina, Edmonton and Calgary. That obviously did not happen.
Honestly, it is unlikely that I will make a deliberate effort to travel to Saskatchewan and the mid-part of Canada now, even once the border re-opens, because the whole reason I had would have gone in the first place would have been to satisfy the “completist” in me that wanted to say I visited and played at every LQ in North America (aside from that random one in Mexico). But now I have to do a mental reset and just be happy there will still be a few opportunities for those who want to play LQ in the U.S. at all.
These opportunities may not be as plentiful as we would like and it does mean that some people (myself included) will have to travel quite a distance if they really want to play LQ again, but I’ll tell you that this is still better than having no choices whatsoever. As other laser tag arenas are closing all around me I certainly relate to this pain on a personal level. And yet, I also recognize that the hope of visiting one of the eight that are planning to re-open in the states versus having no LQ at all (unless you go overseas) is still something I will choose to be grateful and appreciative of having. And at a time where we have just witnessed the closing of a longtime institution like Q-Zar Tampa (leaving only two true Q-Zars remaining in Concord, CA and Carle Place, NY), I prefer to be a “glass half full” person and look at these eight LQs as a blessing, even while we mourn all the ones that will not be returning.
For me personally this means that rather than driving 3 1/2 hours to Newington, CT or even further to Danvers or West Roxbury, MA I will now have to travel to Virginia for my closest LQ option. But you know what...I’ll do that happily when I am next able (meaning once NY travel restrictions permit me to). And so will anyone who really wants to play again. Just like people continued to travel to Tampa for Q-Zar tournaments right up until last year and just like the Photon die-hards traveled once a year for a pilgrimage to Maryland. If it really matters there is always a way.
I realize that the most loyal players will still manage to find their way, but for more casual players this probably is the end of an era and I really do empathize. Although I believe firmly that I will play LQ again, I too am feeling emotional about the loss of this company.
I am quite fortunate that I got to experience as many LQ memories as I did. Laser Quest corporate was really quite supportive of me in the last year, so I would like to take a moment to thank them and reflect on my favorite memories from LQ sites that I have played along the journey.
My top laser tag memory at LQ (or anywhere else) has to be playing in the NRH arena with the inventor of laser tag, George Carter III on International Laser Tag Day.
Being given a special welcome (and an awesome souvenir banner to keep) when I visited LQ headquarters and met with Theresa Stairs and Jeff Morris.
Another special welcome when I went to take publicity photos and video at LQ Mississauga.
Playing one final tournament (an independently organized fundraiser for the DKMCF) at LQ Phoenix on Sunday, March 15th...which turned out to be the last day most LQ sites were open in the U.S.
Visiting my 300th laser tag arena, which (by deliberate planning) was Laser Quest Wichita.
My first time winning two Ironman games back to back.
Donning the LQ gear from head to toe...I’m not sure if they actually ended up using this for anything, but they did ask for my permission to use this pic for promotion.
And just a few more of my favorites…
In retrospect, I have had some amazing experiences and am so blessed that I was able to enjoy as many LQ arenas as I did. I want to thank them for all the memories as well. Even though this is farewell for some, I am heartened to think that it is not necessary farewell forever.
Comments or Questions?