I can't believe it has been over a month since my last visit to play tag in Albany. After they got the Helios Pro system installed I totally expected to be spending a lot more time there because I really look forward to getting the groove of that system down solid. Although playing with Rift/Nexus feels more natural to me, playing with Helios Pro is the direction things are going and I feel lucky that this is now an option for me locally and fortunately with the holiday I had a chance to get two good days of practice in this week. When I went on Wednesday night I felt like I was reacquainting myself with the rhythm. Zone is absolutely a game where timing is everything and in my opinion is even more important here than accuracy of your target. There is definitely a margin of splay with the beam and during one game I enjoyed a moment where I took out four college aged guys with one single shot and in unison they all shouted "What?!" like a moment right out of a sitcom. I smile at that as both my timing and targeting were spot on and the beam did the rest. However, I also had a rather humbling moment when my timing was way off. There was a girl who was not exactly playing the game, but hiding behind a wall just chit-chatting with the game master, Dominick, who earlier in the evening had commented to the group that I am "like a professional". That's why this was all the more embarrassing, but it really illustrates my point. I figured that I'd just get the easy points while passing by so I peeked around the wall and not only did I miss a really easy close range shot, but I gave up the window for her to shoot and deactivate me. Ouch! Just a reminder that to keep sharp, especially since I rotate between systems, that I need to invest the time in practicing not just at any one arena, but at all of them.
When I returned to Zero Gravity two days later I resolved myself to pay better attention to getting my timing down and this was a really good day for that. I got my best practice playing against a teen player who had already established his reputation with the group using the pack called "Shazam". He had a very good aim and consistently was making every shot against most of the players. While he didn't have the movements like an experienced player, he certainly brought plenty of skill. He was also clearly accustomed to winning. I like that because this presented me with a good challenge. I honed my timing during the first game when I had to swap out packs. From then on I felt very much on my game and like the rhythm of the game had gelled. It's tough to describe it, but when you play a game where you can time things correctly and, for lack of a better term "cycle" the shot rotation it feels like everything is in sync and that made for a really great time playing.
Before I left the manager Donnie hooked me up with my membership card a little early. Actually, they won't even be ready to activate the cards until tomorrow, but I wanted to have the first player membership card, so now technically I do. And getting it activated just gives me one more reason to return again soon.
Comments or questions?