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Notable and Quotable To the Maxx

Timing is everything, and I don’t just mean timing your shots in the game. :) The next destination on my trip was Spokane, Washington and for quite some time I have had LaserMaxx Spokane on my radar because of my interest in the equipment they are using. It is still a novelty to me because I have only had one other opportunity to play LaserMaxx (a few weeks ago in Ottawa), so I really wanted to experience the gear for a second time, in addition to needing to play a game in this state to check Washington off my list. So, I had plenty of reasons to want to visit this site, but I was momentarily concerned that after traveling all this way for just one day the timing might not work out. You see, a group was waiting for me in Montana that same night, but did not realize I was going to lose an hour by crossing the time zone and in a moment of my own indecisiveness about how to make it all work, I almost lost my window of opportunity to play at LaserMaxx Spokane. However, I am so glad I decided to wait out a game, as this officially became my “second time around” Washington stop.

I met the owner, Chad, who added me into the next available game session. I looked around the lobby, remembering how cool I thought the theming was when I first played this site (formerly LQ) about five years ago. I continued to be impressed and literally felt like the queen of the “castle”, which is the overall design concept that begins with a stairway up to the “balcony” where you enter the briefing room.

Inside the briefing room I took note of two very cool things. First, I was delighted to still find Og in the corner of the room.

Second, was the briefing itself. I was really blown away by one staff member in particular. I want to give a shout out to Alex who has the very fitting codename of Quote.  This guy gave the group a really fun, almost theatrical briefing, and he kept everyone’s attention. Anyone who has ever been in a laser tag briefing room can tell you that this is not an easy thing to do. And I love that he goes by “Quote” because during his briefing he offered up the most memorable quote of my trip. While explaining why you must hold the front yellow button to activate the flashlight feature when pulling the trigger, his quote was…get ready for it…

“No flashy, no worky. No worky, no pew-pew!” I am seriously thinking of putting that on a T-shirt if LaserMaxx doesn’t do it first!

From here we went down a flight of stairs (yep, the stairs are a very memorable part of the experience because a shift in elevation makes you feel like you are entering a special environment) and we arrived in the vesting room. Time to get our gear on!

These are sturdy-feeling vest packs with Actual Reality style phasers. I particularly like the aesthetic of the crystal-clear chest sensor.

After “suiting up” we headed into the arena for game time.

This arena is distinctive with an unusual maze built into an old Washington State armory. As such, the there are some cool twists and turns, ramps and catwalks and theming that take you from the castle turrets to woods and caverns in different sections of the arena.

I began the game simply by re-familiarizing myself with the space and looking for the nooks and crannies that allow for tags from interesting angles. There was one area I remembered being especially cool in an upper level corner to my left, so I headed in that direction. I should have been keeping my eyes open for wall targets and power-ups, but I did not see any. I can’t say absolutely whether there were or were not any in the arena, but I can tell you that if there were any there I totally missed it because I was completely engaged in player tags this game instead. We played a solo game round, so there were plenty of live targets to focus my attention on here!

I was trying to listen for sound cues as the game went along and I could recognize a few, however what I took away most from this game were the moments of one to one engagement, which I believe are what make laser tag such a socially interactive kind of game. Most of the time the trading tags with players was met with comments like “good shot” or “she got me!” I will say I had one unusually memorable interaction with one guy who did not like me entering “his” part of the arena and tried to fend me off using the phaser flashlight. However, I am not easily intimidated, so I met his challenge head on and we had some “spirited” sparring, which is what I will most specifically remember from this game. Overall, my takeaway is that this system offers an uncomplicated, easy experience for players to step into during public game sessions, making this a fun “run around and tag your friends” kind of vibe that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some days I just want to enjoy a game exactly like this and the group I played with was a nice size, a good mix of players and in general just a lot of fun!

When the game was over we headed out through the familiar looking airlock gate. So much about this visit brought back wonderful memories to go along with the new game system experience.

When we exited the arena we returned to the front lobby for scores. I smiled to see my name in first place on the scoreboard.

Just like in the old LQ days, the top three players were announced as scorecards were passed out. I must say, I do appreciate the rare times when I am still handed a paper scorecard (as it is no longer the norm in many arenas). I also liked examining some of the more detailed data on the card…like the measure of 71 KCAL for my activity. Proof that laser tag is the most fun way to get a bit of exercise as well!

If I had more time to spend in Spokane I definitely would have enjoyed playing a few more games. However, at this point I was just very appreciative that I got to have the LaserMaxx Spokane experience once before heading east towards Montana as I continued my tag tour of the northwestern part of the U.S.

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