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Sometimes It’s Like That

I went to one site that definitely stood out to me, but not for the reasons you would want. Let me just say it was a site where they were running Lasertron and the experience left me feeling…meh.

I had actually stopped twice to visit this center (no need to name name’s) that claims to have “Memphis’ Largest Laser Tag Game” and that is probably correct.

The first time I dropped by it was during the daytime (but also it was during regular hours when they were open for business) and when I told the teenager at the counter that I wanted to play a game of laser tag he told me he was the only one there and laser tag would not open until 4:00. Ok, I can accept that (even though I also feel like if your doors are open you should be able to accommodate requests for your services when customers walk through your door). So I returned the following evening and bought my game pass at the front counter. I was told to go to the laser tag area and a staff member would be over there. Well, when I got there I found a sign saying “if nobody is here then go to the front counter”…where I had just been. It took awhile before I connected with the employee assigned to laser tag. It was 7:05 and she told me the next game would not be until 7:50. Sigh…but ok. I asked her to please put me down for that game and I would return.

Since there was a bit of time I left (to go to this AMAZING store I found called Sprouts Farmers Market) to get some food to take back to the hotel and I really had no time to spare in order to get back to the laser tag site by 7:50. But they didn’t actually start briefing for about 20 minutes after that!

Also, based on the employees I had encountered I felt like this was the epitome of a staff that couldn’t care less. When I returned there was a different guy behind the laser tag counter. No direction was given. I had to initiate asking him about whether I should be signing in for the game (which is necessary at many Lasertron sites, including this one) and then eventually I entered the briefing room along with a noisy, chaotic group of players who paid ZERO attention to the briefing video about how to play Domination and absolutely nobody seemed to care. After that I wasn’t shocked to realize I was the only person who understood how to play that game format. However, I really WAS surprised by a couple of the code names that were allowed to be displayed up on the board that game. Let’s just say I won’t be repeating them here.

Once again, there was no direction from the staff. The young guy now running the game did not even instruct people to match the number by their name with the corresponding pack. That’s a Tron specific thing to know about and it is not something that is exactly intuitive for those who are playing for the first time. Or maybe it is because everyone seemed to get their packs figured out. However, that poor employee was very soft spoken and not particularly well suited to handling a loud group so if we all got the correct packs I attribute to luck and following the crowd. At one point, rather than shouting above the din he just waved his arms in hopes that people would pay attention. No disrespect intended towards the staff member, but if you can’t take charge and get your players to pay attention then you are going to have considerable difficulty getting them to follow your rules.

There was one positive thing I saw in the briefing room…these short Tron tubes. Apparently the top part can be removed like a lid and they were offered to be used for storage of purses and other personal items during the game. That really is a clever idea!

And these larger tubes helped to form what really was a very nice two-level Lasertron arena.

But a nice looking arena does not compensate for players having no idea how the game works and I attribute that to lack of guidance from the staff who should have at least made some effort to get the customers to be quiet for the briefing video so everyone had a shot of understanding the game they paid for. Once again, since the format was Domination I do not consider it to be a particularly intuitive game without some clarity of instruction.

During the game a few players made comments to me when they observed me tagging a sector for my team…

“Oh, that’s how you do it?”

“Not fair, she knows what she’s doing.”

“You’re the only reason we’re winning.”

That last one makes me shake my head because if you read this blog regularly you know Tron is the system I am the worst at playing. But the bottom line is there is no reason why EVERYONE shouldn’t have walked in with a basic idea of how to play the game.

Maybe I was tired. Maybe I was frustrated. Either way, I left feeling like I could have skipped this stop and still been fully satisfied with my trip, but instead I had this as my final experience in Tennessee and I guess I will just chalk it up to, well…sometimes it’s like that.

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