Monday, May 3, 2021

A Total Tourney at Tron

It’s been a while since I have played in any tournaments at all and since the last one I played at Lasertron Rochester was a little, well, unusual I thought it would be interesting to do another one and see how the event might be different now that they have been running them for a few months. This tournament was a much more complete experience (which is why I call it a “total tourney” compared to the last one I played) and I am glad I had a second chance to compete here again as a newbie to the Battle Royale squad format. I ended up playing with a very solid team (and all’s well that ends well), but this event had a few interesting moments of its own to start with, even before I arrived.

Since I live a considerable distance away from Lasertron I do not get to play there very often, therefore my only chance to participate in the squad tournament scene is to be picked up by a team that has already qualified. Initially I got added by a father/son team that had qualified and were forming a squad. I reached out to them a week ago to additionally confirm Shadowdragn (Emily) from my ‘geddon team to be our fourth and I headed out to Rochester on Sunday knowing that our squad was all set. Well, as it turned out…not quite.

 

A couple of hours before we were due to arrive, I got a message from the team captain (the father) informing me that in spite of having had our squad line-up confirmed for a week, they had just made a change. The son had invited his new girlfriend to be on the team and that meant he no longer had room for both Emily and me on the squad. Sheesh! He offered to let me keep my spot since I had confirmed first, but this last-minute change of roster did not sit well with me and I was not willing to drop my allegiance to Emily. Even though she is a great player and could easily get picked up by another squad, to drop a player like that at the last minute in favor of “bringing a new girlfriend” was in my opinion NOT a classy move (putting it all on Front Street there). Especially considering the late notice and with both of us already in route and both driving in from a fair distance away. So, I declined to keep my spot on his team and decided to stay loyal to my friend and hope to pick up more teammates within the couple of hours remaining before the tournament start.

 

As it happened, by start time we had successfully joined up with a couple of other players who couldn’t have been any more welcoming and awesome guys! Sometimes things end up working out for the best and that’s how I ended up as part of the Spartans squad along with CDragon, Ghost and Shadowdragn. 

 


As luck (or karma) would have it we ended up facing the father/son/girlfriend squad in the first round of quarterfinals. We got suited up, were ready to go and took first place in that round.

 


That meant our team advanced along with the PewPewToo squad into the semifinals, but the team that changed their roster did not go on any further. 

 

We headed over to the observation window to watch the next round of quarterfinals and things got interesting within the very first minute of that game.

 

A team that appeared favored to win this round ended up having a bit of a challenge early on. One of the game nuances of Battle Royale is that you MUST tag an opponent within a specific time allotment or the clock will time you out and you automatically go from being an active green player to a purple storm. Team SteveO had three of their four players go purple within the first 40 seconds of the game simply from not being able to find an opponent. This was largely due to them going in against two squads of two in a big arena, as it is not required that you field the maximum of four players on a team. The lone player to survive was ironically their last-minute pick-up player, Daniel, and this started a bit of a cool underdog story for the night. While it didn’t look good for them based on that start, Daniel survived and got Team SteveO into the next round along with the Thundercats. These teams would advance to the semifinals along with the teams from the first round and also the Just Us team that had won their buy (or some say “bye”…who wants to weigh in?) into the semis based on previously earned point totals.

 

For the semifinals all we had to do was be among the top four teams to survive and we would go on to finals. By the skin of our teeth, we did just that. Now we were going into finals with the other finalist teams and the two teams that had earned their buy into finals on points, squads GI Joe and Gone Fishing.

 


I knew Emily had her sights set on being the Storm Leader coming out of this game. The only issue I see with this goal is that to accomplish it requires that you to be tagged out of active mode, meanwhile the only way a team can win is if you keep at least one last man actively standing to the end, which is somewhat at odds with the lesser objective. I’m a little perplexed by this element of the game where there is some personal benefit to intentionally letting yourself be tagged out early to go “purple storm” in hopes of getting the top Storm Leader medal. Regardless, in doing so she ended up going head-to-head against Snake Eyes, a very skilled player who appears to have a tremendous amount of experience with playing the purple storm role. So (as I recall from, I want to say…Zork?) “the drought was for naught.” And before too long everyone was purple. Finals were fun and adrenaline pumping, but over in 4:25 minutes.

 

Final results played out as follows:

 

Snake Eyes - Storm Leader

 

GI Joe - 3rd place

 


Steve O - 2nd place

 


PewPewToo - 1st place

 


The conclusion of that quasi-underdog story from earlier (which seems odd to say because they were actually all vey good players) is that with one wild card player keeping them alive during the quarterfinals, Team SteveO managed to narrowly survive the quarterfinals and sailed right through the semifinals to end up in second place overall, which I think is pretty awesome and deserves a shout out. Actually, I want to congratulate everyone who was involved with this tournament, including the Lasertron staff. It is fine with me that my team didn’t end up placing at the end. Getting to the finals was plenty accomplishment enough for me as this is not a system that I consider to be my forte. However, it was really nice to observe how this tournament structure can work well when all the right elements are in place. Ten teams made for a pretty good turn out and I think it was smart for them to develop this format in a way that requires squads to keep their distance from other squads during the game. I was a bit critical of my first Battle Royale squad tournament, but last night’s experience had me feeling like I would definitely want to try this again. My thanks to all who made last night awesome, including those who expressed an interest in getting involved with Tag 4 A Cause.

 

Emily had already donated and achieved her laser tag 5K, so I personally delivered her Tag 4 A Cause medal.

 


Full details on the Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge to raise funds for Feeding America can be found here…

 

To Benefit Feeding America - Q2 2021 | tiviachicklovestag (tiviachickloveslasertag.com)

 

Thanks to all those who are helping to make a difference through laser tag!

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact: Tivia@tiviachickloveslasertag.com

Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com

Saturday, April 24, 2021

An Industry Leader Interview with George Carter III, the Inventor of Photon

George Carter III is widely regarded as the father of the laser tag industry as the inventor of Photon, the very first commercial laser tag game system that started it all when Photon first opened to the public in Dallas, TX on March 28, 1984. We me for the first time thirty years later in 2014 and he has generously shared many first-hand stories of the development of his iconic laser tag system. This past week George Carter took some time for an interview with me to discuss the history of Photon for inclusion in the Laser Tag Museum’s Oral History of Laser Tag Industry Leader Interview Collection.

 


Please visit the Laser Tag Museum website and you will find the video of this interview at the link below.

Tiviachick Interviews George Carter III, the Inventor of Photon (lasertagmuseum.com)

My thanks again to George Carter III for generously taking the time for this interview and for many wonderful memories along the way.



Comments or Questions?

Contact: Tivia@tiviachickloveslasertag.com

Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com

Friday, April 23, 2021

What's New On My Arm

What's new on my arm? If you’re about to guess a tattoo, you are mistaken, but I am wearing a couple of new things on my arm that I think are worth sharing.

I have said many times that I go to laser tag in place of going to the gym. Beyond the fact that I simply love the game, laser tag can also be quite a workout. Since October I have been writing about laser tagging my way through a variety of distance challenges which gave way to setting up the very first Tag 4 A Cause event in November, but up to this point I have really only zeroed in on the fact that you walk a tremendous number of steps when you play the game. Recently I decided to try something that could impact the upper half of my body during game play as well.

 

Before I go on further I want to be clear that I don’t typically do product reviews and what I am about to share is NOT paid advertising in any way. Actually, it’s the opposite because I bought and paid for these items myself and then decided to share them here just because I think they are a good idea that I have already added to my laser tag routine. 

 


I recently learned about Cali Weights and decided to try them out. These are weighted bracelets that function as both jewelry and a tiny bit of weight added to your arm in the form of a wristband that you can wear all day. The idea makes sense that these could add a little extra toning benefit with no extra effort just by wearing them (gotta love that) so I figured I’d give them a shot. I started wearing them to laser tag a few weeks ago and figured they might add something to the experience simply on account of the way you have to hold the phaser. For most laser tag systems you will need to hold the phaser up using both hands to play while you consistently hold it in position to be ready to tag at any moment. So the nature of the game requires that both of your arms are held upward for most of the duration of your time in the arena if you want to be in a ready position. That’s why it seems logical to me that if you add a little weight to the wrist you would exert a bit more energy from the process. However, at only a 1/4 pound per bracelet they are still light enough that they don’t get in the way. I really am not even aware of the increased weight unless I up it to two bracelets (1/2 pound) per wrist, which I’m thinking about doing soon when their metallic collection drops. In the meantime, I like these silicone ones.

 


I bought the small size bands because that is what they had in stock at the time, although if I were to do it again I would probably step up to a medium just because they were a little snug. However, I stretched them out a bit by storing them around a shampoo bottle and that gave them just enough give to fit comfortably after a couple of days. I am now wearing them every day, for work and regular life, not just got laser tag.

 

Something else that I have started wearing is my new Road iD. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to travel, but this just makes good sense for safety when I do. I bought a wristband engraved with my emergency contact information just in case anything should happen to me while I’m on the road or in the arena. Now, some arenas require you to fill out a waiver that might include emergency contact info, but I’d say the majority of the ones I visit do not. Prior to the pandemic I was literally crossing the country monthly for laser tag and I was off playing in multiple arenas in every state. While I have always carried emergency info in my wallet, heaven forbid if anything were to happen while I’m traveling and an emergency contact needed to be reached right away. I recall an instance when I was at a tournament and a teammate had a seizure and the only contact any of us had for his family was via Facebook...NOT an ideal scenario. So that is why from this point on I’m going to wear the Road iD wristband whenever I travel for tag so that if something happens and I can’t speak, then it will be easier for emergency personnel to reach my contacts if need be. However, I may also modify this slightly for privacy, particularly because I post so many photos on my blog. I will be covering the contact info with a stripe of tape so as to not have personal info constantly visible, however it will still remain accessible. I was impressed with how quickly the order for this bracelet was completed because I had it in time for my most recent travels and that gave me an extra bit of comfort and security to be able to go play some laser tag without any worry.



And the final new addition to my arm is a new glow in the dark wristband. The new ones have just arrived and they will be available at my upcoming Tag 4 A Cause events, which I’m delighted to say has resumed and is going on right now. The next Tag 4 A Cause event will take place on June 5th at Q-Zar Toledo in support of Feeding America.

 

To Benefit Feeding America - Q2 2021 | tiviachicklovestag (tiviachickloveslasertag.com)

 

I want to thank Q-Zar Toledo for being my next host location and if you want to get one of these Tag 4 A Cause wristbands all you have to do is participate, donate and play some laser tag.

 

By the way, there are lots of great causes out there that you can support by laser tagging via their virtual challenges. While I’m supporting the official Tiviachick’s Tag 4 A Cause I still enjoy laser tagging in support of other worthwhile charities and this week I was glad to give my support from inside the arena to the Home Run 5K for Habitat for Humanity Kenosha.

 


Whatever charitable cause it is that you support, just get out there and make a difference. And remember that you can certainly make that difference while having fun, staying safe and healthy and playing laser tag.

 

Comments or Questions?

Contact: Tivia@tiviachickloveslasertag.com

Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge is Back!

The Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge is back and this time it is to support Feeding America! Want to help and take on the challenge? It’s as easy as this…donate, play laser tag, earn an achievement medal. You can find all the details here along with a link to our TeamFeed fundraiser page.

To Benefit Feeding America - Q2 2021 | tiviachicklovestag (tiviachickloveslasertag.com)

 

I invite you to participate wherever you are because this challenge can be completed at any laser tag arena, anywhere between now and the end of June. It takes approximately ten games of laser tag to complete about 5K or 3.1 miles of distance (of course this will vary a bit depending on the game, the arena and your own movement) so it is easy to pledge to tag for health and fun and at the same time donate to a really great cause. Earlier this week laser tag players in Syracuse got the ball rolling by making their donations and pledging to laser tag 5K in their own arena.

 


In doing so they each helped Feeding America and earned their own achievement medal as well as a glow in the dark wristband.

 


Why support Feeding America? This is an exceptional cause. Feeding America’s mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. When you support Feeding America you are helping their nationwide network of food banks deliver programs at the front line of hunger. Programs like school-based food pantries, emergency disaster relief and Kids’ CafĂ©. Learn more at www.feedingamerica.org.

 

This Tag 4 A Cause challenge can be completed on your own at any laser tag arena you like, however I want to thank Q-Zar Toledo for being our host location for a Tag 4 A Cause night on June 5th from 5:00-11:00 pm. When you donate to Tag 4 A Cause and tag with us at the event you will have a chance to win door prizes and one lucky winner will take home the custom Tag 4 A Cause High Score Trophy!

 


So now is the time…are you up for the challenge? Help to make a difference when you join us and Tag 4 A Cause.

 


Comments or Questions?

Contact: Tivia@tiviachickloveslasertag.com

Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com