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With Time to Spare

I wrapped up my time in Vermont with a visit to Spare Time in Colchester, looking forward to playing some Helios 2 before returning home from my trip (hopefully with literal “time to spare” as I had to be at work the next morning).

Knowing that upgrades have taken place at many of the Spare Time locations, I was fully expecting to enjoy some of the newest Zone elements in use, like the video bases.

With 23 players headed into the vesting room, it looked like it would be a pretty good game, which it was. I was surprised that the only briefing I recalled happening was the on-screen safety video.

I think this addition that plays automatically on newer Zone equipment is a smart move, but still think a live briefing in conjunction with it would be a good idea too.

What caught my attention most (having been to several remodeled Spare Time locations at this point) was the double level arena. Video bases were on the lower level, but there were ramps on either end leading up to a balcony-style second floor overlook. What do you know, a room with a view!

Although there were two particular guys who seemed VERY intent on winning the game, I did walk out with the top score. :)

I wondered how this might compare with the next Spare Time location I planned to visit, which would be the following weekend in Des Moines, IA. One week later I had my answer…

Predictably, the remodel had a similar aesthetic (as all the recently redone locations seemed to have adopted this same theme, save for the one closest to me that only got an equipment upgrade).

On a side note…while the arenas are looking great, I do think it’s a little less interesting to walk into an arena now that they all basically look the same. Part of what I loved during my early visits to Spare Time locations in the northeast was that each one had a different look, which made it memorable and gave it a bit of individual personality. While the new look is sharp and well done, I’d love to see more variety.

This arena did have some really nice lighting effects swirling around the arena. That really stood out to me here to take note and I do not recall seeing similar lighting in use in Colchester.

Spare Time Des Moines was actually my first stop upon my arrival in Iowa. They did show a briefing video in the vesting room. Even though I said a briefing should accompany the on-screen video, in this case I’ll also suggest that when the video says “no running” perhaps the game marshal ought not ad-lib with “You guys can run, I don’t know why they say that.” I do...but not my circus, not my monkeys.

The game itself was a blast. I love playing with the H2 gear!

One guy came out and told his wife “There was a lady on the red team who just kept sniping” so I know I took a few people be surprise, but I simply enjoyed a great game experience, followed up by some DELICIOUS chicken quesadillas. All in all, I’m glad I spent my spare time here at Spare Time Des Moines.

And with that, I had a bit more “time to spare” as I continued visiting arenas in Iowa prior to heading west to Nebraska, which would be my 34th goal state by the end of the day. My “Oops I Did It Again” Second Time Around Tag Tour of the 50 States is rolling along at a brisk pace and I feel like I’m right on track to complete my journey again by next Laser Tag Day. :)

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