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Playing Plazma Force

If you are looking for somewhere to play a game of Plazma Force laser tag, as best I can tell, there is only one place to go. That’s what led me to seek out Emerald Coast Mirror Maze and Laser Craze in Panama City Beach, FL and have a one of a kind laser tag experience.

My thanks to owners Chad and Kim for coordinating this opportunity for my first time trying out this phaser-only laser tag system.

Now, there is a vested version (which apparently they used up until only about two months ago), but I was thrilled to try Plazma Force with or without a vest and I was told they started using the phasers-only option to make it easier for kids to get in and out of the game more quickly. This makes perfect sense for their set-up, which caters to walk-in players enjoying the amusement atmosphere of Panama City Beach.

Chad and I compared some differences in the phaser that was originally used with a vest (less visible sensors, dark plastic vs clear design).

Both of these vary slightly from the clearer, milky-white version I had seen at trade shows (trade show model pictured here for comparison).

So this was very cool to be able to check out the differences as I took note of the unique characteristics of this phaser as I held it for the first time.

But how does this system play? I couldn’t wait to find out!

Chad showed me into the arena that was decked out with some stunning custom Blacklight wall art created by Media Vision, the same company that manufactures both Plazma Force and Bazooka Ball.

What I love most about this single-level game space is the personalization to the wall design. Some custom touches including Kim’s Corner Fashion, Ian’s Hock and Loan and Savannah’s Vinyl Record Revival pay homage to some of the people involved with the arena.

Other walls feature laser tag code names.

I prepared for my first game with an awesome group who came in for Bazooka Ball, but were game to try something different and got to play their first game of Plazma Force as well.

We were divided into two teams, blue and green, and instructed that the only targets to tag are tight on the phaser. If you are tagged your phaser will flash red and you are out for a few seconds before reactivating. This is a simple enough game format. We were also told that for this game it is acceptable to try to cover your targets in any way you can, so you can see some creative play-style taking place!

This was a lot of fun and a system where simplicity is a real asset. You don’t always need a complex game to have fun, and I absolutely enjoyed this laser tag experience!

The number on the back of the phaser indicates how many times you were tagged (so lower is better).

However, the scoreboard reflects the opposite and shows how many tags your team collectively scored against the other team and you see this on the Bazooka Ball board.

My team were the Droids…we won! :)

This was a very cool and unique laser tag experience, but not the only one I would have this night. While this arena has Plazma Force available primarily as an option for kids, they have added Delta Strike as their primary laser tag system. That is not unusual at all. However, what I did find interesting was learning that Delta Strike had a phaser-only version of Evolution Pro, which I have never seen before!

This was interesting! Of course I wanted to try this out, so I joined the next game group and we had a mix of equipment. Some players opted for the typical vested version, while I was one of the two players trying out the vestless phaser option.

Another fun game and another unique experience! The vestless option has an advantage in mixed play because there are less sensor targets to hit, so it really isn’t a balanced game without everyone using the same version. However, for kids this once again makes perfect sense and I applaud them for figuring out the best options for their particular customer base in this area.

So making the trip to visit Emerald Coast Mirror Maze and Laser Craze was absolutely worthwhile and I had two very unique laser tag experiences in one stop. My thanks again to Chad, Kim and their staff for their hospitality and the opportunity to try something different. It was awesome!

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