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The Coolest Springz are in New Mexico

Four states left! I decided to try to tag two of them in one weekend, so I boarded a flight for Phoenix…conveniently enough with a three hour stopover in Albuquerque! That was just enough time for me to call a taxi for a ride to and from the coolest arena in town, Cool Springz.

There were two signs hanging on the wall outside the arena that intrigued me. One promoted “Escape from Tatewari - an interactive laser tag experience” while the other credited the arena design work to Art-FX Studios.

Off the top of my head I can only think of one other instance where I have ever seen an arena designer spotlighted like that, so my curiosity was piqued as to what might be behind the vesting room walls. Let me tell you, I was impressed!

I put on a Laserforce Gen 7 pack and entered the game with some young troopers and game master Noah to add some balance. I got as far as the first rock wall affixed with a giant skull before I proclaimed that this was cool. However, you have to go deeper to find the really interesting elements of the arena. Behind the rock wall was a crashed plane, glowing from inside.

Inside the plane I found a skeleton pilot and passenger.

As we tagged around the plane (without missing the blue base target hidden under the wing) I noticed an interesting structure on the back wall.

I went through the tunnel expecting to find another base or target, but instead I tripped a motion activated sound effect and started a thunder and rain sound to add atmosphere throughout the arena. I love that. I deliberately activated that SFX three times after I realized it.

But one feature of this arena was memorable above all else and that was the giant mama spider!

This was a prop used to feature the LF living arena interactive targets. First, I began the sequence of 20 target shots, which simply serve to anger the mama…”oh no, not my babies!”

After she is sufficiently irked, the spider fires back from a game target located in her belly. Ok, that much I knew to expect. But what really impressed me was that once the “attack” was activated it began with the spider MOVING and descending from above like it’s coming for you! It hovers just overhead, but that motion activation is VERY effective! Who came up with this thing, Jon Peters, lol?

This arena is about 2,000 square feet, but I was really astounded with how “big” the experience was in such a small footprint. The game was fun, but the totality of the experience was enhanced by the effort that was clearly out into making this a quality arena. No “cookie cutter” here!

I also want to acknowledge the staff. They didn’t know I was coming, but they were so helpful and accommodating when I arrived. I literally had one hour and no more if I was going to make my connecting flight to Phoenix. I gave the taxi driver a return time to pick me up and hoped that I would be able to get into a game and finish in time, but sometimes an hour is not enough and I didn’t know what to expect. But as soon as I explained my time limits the girl behind the counter said “as soon as this game ends we’ll start another one for you right away.” That is a small thing that made a HUGE difference to me and I thank them for making the extra effort to help me out.

I am so delighted that I got to experience Cool Springz in Albuquerque and also check off New Mexico from my “second time around” list as I prepare to tag my final three states.

Comments or Questions? 


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