Tri-Tag Tournament: Laser Quest Potomac Mills

It was sort of a last minute decision for me to enter the Tri-Tag Weekend laser tag tournament. Although there were events for Tron and tactical competition I decided that I would only choose to participate in the Quest portion of the weekend which was to run from 11:00 PM on Saturday night through about 3 AM on Sunday morning and then I would head back home. Eight hours of driving each way was still totally worth it to have the experience playing against some actual Quest players! However, my team had a slightly different make-up. I played with a free agent team (that I affectionately refer to as the "Free Agents" of SHIELD) with Logan (a Storm player), Andrew (a Tron player), me (a Zone pl

My Fifth Shadowland

As I was headed towards my hotel in Alexandria, VA I realized that I was just a short ways away from the fifth Shadowland facility, the last one I had yet to visit. I have already played in Frederick, Columbia, Gaithersburg and Chantilly. Even though I really wanted to take a nap before the tournament that was to get underway at 11:00 that evening I knew that if I played this one (Springfield/Alexandria) I'd have the chance to say I've played them all. It was a decent game in an arena with a familiar feel. I like Darklight...I don't LOVE it, but I enjoy it as a novelty because I don't have opportunities to play close to home. And I hoped when I saw their display that maybe I could take home

Dickson City Laser Tag

Dickson City Laser Tag in Pennsylvania was an excellent experience and a surprisingly cool arena. It was the perfect point just off the highway for me to take a break to enjoy some Helios on my way down to the Tri-Tag Tournament in Virginia. I showed up at just the right time to play with a group of college students from Clarks Summit University. I was glad to see that this center attracted a wide age spectrum. Honestly, when I see a center with a pirate ship theme I am pre-disposed to think it may be small or geared towards kids. Sometimes I've seen other arenas take it to a place where it gets corny or over the top...however this place did it REALLY well! There is a giant pirate ship with

Playing at my 70th Laser Tag Arena

The Mill in Bethlehem, PA is officially the 70th arena where I have had the pleasure to play laser tag! I was really excited to reach this milestone (my goal is to eventually play at least 100 arenas, but hey, 70 is A LOT!) and all the more so because I got to play my 70th with Helios. I love that this arena runs Zone. There was a game in progress when I walked in, so I was glad to discover there was a group of players already there. I was led down a hallway to the vesting room where I took a moment to snap a few pics before going in for an enjoyable, casual game with time to check out this arena that is only about a year old. This is a small space, but definitely lots of fun. There were two

An Unusual Game of Laser Quest

When I walked into the Laser Quest in Wyomissing, PA my first thought was that if I could play a one on one with an employee here it might be good practice for the tri-tag tournament next week. I approached the counter and the manager Mike commented that I looked like I really wanted to play some laser tag. LOL...if he only knew! At this point I was only one location away from my 70th arena so it was true that I wanted to play, but probably not for reasons he would have guessed. :) Game master Gabriel and I went into the briefing room. I was the only one there at that moment. He started the instructional speech. I interrupted to let him know that I was familiar with Laser Quest and all the r

Lasertron at Laserdome

What a great time I had at Laserdome! They have a really personable staff and I'm so glad I had a chance to stop and play. When you drive up to the building you can certainly understand how it got its name... But on the inside there is more than you would expect. The arena itself is not actually located in the dome. That's where they host their dance parties. I got a chance to check out the light show and stage area and it seems like a really cool spot to hold a party. :) Once our game was called I went in with several guys (a couple appeared to be regulars) who made for very good competition. This facility runs Lasertron LT11 equipment. Although I'm not really that big a fan of Tron, I did

The Lazer Factory

I had a really great time playing at The Lazer Factory, a family owned business in Annville, PA. The son, Riley, agreed to play a one on one and I had a feeling this would be good. After all, we were playing Zone. I asked him if he was any good and he told me that he used to play a lot, but there was never anyone competitive around to play against...enter Tiv. :) I had a feeling this would be a good opportunity for another competitive game...and I was right! The arena has two levels. The upstairs is accessible by one ramp. The rest of the arena was decorated in an apocolyptic theme with a good balance of neon and structure with barrels, "brick wall" barriers creating a maze space with both f

Awesome Time at Laser Alleys

After my experience the night before I decided to rework my plans for Sunday and re-route my trip home so that I could still have a milestone arena visit. I decided first thing that morning that I was going to get to my 70th arena before the day was done. So, to accomplish this I plotted a course and found a location that was open early in the day. That is what led me to play at Laser Alleys in York, PA. I have to say this experience was WAY better than I expected at 11:00 AM in a bowling alley! I went in for what turned out to be a really competitive one on one with game master Alex and had a blast playing with Rift. The arena was small, but made really good use of the space with a couple o

No Photos, No Dice

I was excited to visit a laser tag center in not-even-gonna-name-the-town, Virginia because it would be my 65th laser tag arena and also my final stop of this night. I thought that would be a great place to both celebrate a big number like 65 and also enjoy playing some Zone, my favorite system. However, this stop did not turn out to be the experience I hoped for. In the vesting room I asked an employee to snap a quick pic for me to mark the milestone and I was told that they do not allow photos...spit take...WHAT?! Yeah, I was told I couldn't take photos in the vesting room or the arena. I have only been told this once before in a Tron center that cited "copyright issues" (and it irritated

Shadowland III...is actually my fourth Shadowland

I paid a visit to Shadowland in Chantilly, VA having previously played at the Shadowland facilities in Frederick, Columbia and Gaithersburg, MD. I was ready to enjoy some Darklight...and so was a huge crowd of other players who had come out to play this night. I feel kind of crabby to complain, but I was surprised that they didn't have more help there on a Saturday night. I waited for a ridiculous amount of time while one frazzled attendant entered the individual code names for this group manually. I'm sure he was not deliberately ignoring me (and he did apologize a couple of times), but after playing as many places as I have I guess my expectation was higher and I was surprised to see that

Tagging at the Castle

When I pulled into the parking lot of Castle Laser Tag in Bowie, MD there was a group hanging outside and I hoped they would be joining in the game...this guy wasn't one of them! At first there were seven of us who entered the briefing room before vesting up with Helios Pro packs and deciding that free for all was the way to go. However moments later another group double this size joined us and teams formed, which set the scene for a really enjoyable tag experience. Kim called me over and said "you're on our team" and I was happy to join them. The teams were a little unbalanced in numbers, but I definitely wasn't sweating that. The arena was a pretty good size space with double level station

PHOCON 2016

The main reason for my trip to Maryland was to attend this year's PHOCON, a celebration of all things Photon held at XP Lasersport in Laurel, MD. I wish I had longer to stay, but I enjoyed walking in to a fun atmosphere when I was greeted by Photon Chris saying "I wondered when you were going to show up!" :) You know I wouldn't miss the chance to suit up in the vintage Photon gear straight out of 1984 (with some restoration to get the system back on line thanks to Marc Mueller and all the volunteers who work so hard for this event) and getting into a game. And I always love taking home new tag swag from Phocon! But what really makes this event special is watching all the old school players b

Red Zone Adventures

By the time I had detoured in this direction I was close enough that I wanted to pay a visit to Red Zone Adventures in Timonium, MD. These guys were great. They organized a game for me to play against several staff members and a couple of casual afternoon players. Using Nexus packs we got to play a fairly competitive round in their double level arena using Nexus. I must say, this was better competition than I was expecting! Thanks to Matt and Eric and the whole group who made it a real game and then chatted with me afterwards about the competitive scene, both my experience and Eric's experience on Baltimore B in the past. Although this was not my best game by far it was really cool to play a

There's No Monster Under These Black Lights

At Jamie's suggestion I detoured to check out an arena at Monster Mini Golf in Parkville, MD. I probbly wouldn't have thought to stop here because I would have perceived it to be more about the golf, but this was a really cool location that is thoroughly immersed in black lights! This makes the aesthetic of their arena particularly attractive with dayglow colors and artwork to match their nuclear fallout theme. From the party room you can see everything that is happening inside the arena. And I looked forward to the chance to play this arena using Helios packs. Before going in we watched the standard briefing video and I found it really amusing that in this atmosphere where there were monste

Ultrazone: Baltimore - One of the Best!

I had a fantastic experience playing at the Ultrazone in Baltimore, MD! Especially considering I arrived at 10:00 in the morning right before they even opened. I walked in and explained that I only had a brief time passing through the area and realized there was nobody there at this hour, but wondered if there was an employee who would go in for a one on one so I could experience the arena. That was met with both approval and the best tour guide I could have asked for as the general manager Jamie showed me the really cool perks of this arena (where apparently all the new Zone introductions are made available as soon as possible). First, I got a peek at the map of the arena. Although this spa

My 20th State

You may ask why I drove 7 1/2 hours in order to play 7 1/2 minutes of Lazer Runner. I think I have an excellent reason...to check off Delaware as the 20th state where I have played laser tag! Now, this was no easy feat because it is a bit out of the way (simply as far as my travel plans go, it was a detour). It was also a challenge because there is almost nowhere in the state to play laser tag, even in spite of being the state where the Zone laser tag home offices are located. However, I was excited to learn that I could play a round at the Family Fun Galaxy, an arcade and entertainment center attached to the Mid-County Lanes in Middletown, DE. It was not a very big or flashy arena, but the

Largest Arena on the East Coast?

Well, I've already played at the "largest laser tag arena in the world" (although there may be an asterisk as a place in Arizona does seem to run neck and neck for that title) so this time around I stopped at a center that (according to the internet) can claim to be the largest arena on the east coast. That sounded intriguing and was a great excuse to stop for a break while driving through New Jersey. I pulled into the parking lot of the Branchburg Sports Complex and thought the building certainly was big! It was about an hour before their mid-afternoon break (apparently they close the arena for a short time before reopening for the evening). I was hoping to get into a quick game, but it too

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