Sunday, January 28, 2018

Of Ankles and Averages

Ugh...Last night I twisted my ankle in the middle of playing tag. Not enough that I think I did any damage, but just enough that it's still sore a day later. Thankfully it happened during a game of Supercharge so my walking out mid-game to tend to it should not affect my average...which has already taken a few hits lately.


I missed the top ten board by what could only have been one placement based on how close my average was when I walked in the door last night. But close does not count and I vowed to step it up. The first game of the night someone suggested should be guys vs girls (although there were significantly less women in the room). Tom agreed to that, but pointed to me and said "just so you know, she's a member and she's really good." Flattering to hear, however that also made me a big ole target that game for the mob mentality for everyone on the other team to gang up against. Nothing like having to play hard and work up a sweat right out of the gate! :) However, true to my goal I did pull a decent score to help get that average back up. Most of the standard games were good (except for the last one of the night...sheesh!), but I had another objective in mind.


I have had to reschedule my southern states trip, but the plus side to this is that I may be able to pick up an extra event in a few weeks. For this I want to be practiced in a few of the special formats and last night I got my chance. I won a game of Highlander which was one of the formats I especially wanted to work on. My missiling  has always been my Achilles heel, but I feel like it has been improving. Damon and I were the last two standing that game, but I had gotten the edge with a few more eliminations.


Ha...who was in that game who used the name BeanzHazNoChil ? I didn't see that before, but I'm giggling at it now. :)


Anyhow, a game I have played far less than that is Dead Aim and I suspected some practice with this format would serve me well also. I was in the red group, but when I heard the purple group was playing this I invited myself to the party...and made no friends. ;)


I didn't think too much about my score until Jared poked his head into the briefing room, looks at me and says "Damn!" and then Damon gave me props for it also. 17,694...ok, feeling pretty good about this format again. And this was after my ankle injury too!


Then the last game of the night people were a little rowdy (a group came over from the bar next door) and Jared was having none of it. So instead of playing Masters for the final game he gave up on trying to instruct them and just went with a standard game. I probably should not have signed in for this. After building up my standard scores this was a blow to my ankle, my average and my ego. Lesson learned...don't underestimate people who have been drinking before laser tag. Hmmm....that revelation suddenly puts a whole different spin of clarity on the 'geddons! ;)



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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Epic Coming and Going

I have to thank Sanch for giving me heads up about a new Laserforce arena that had only been open for about a week when I had a chance to stop in. Epic Gaming in St. Catherine's, ON, Canada is in a great location just off the highway where I have to pass by every time I drive to and from making visits to see my friends in Toronto. So I will most certainly return. :)


When you enter this facility there are a few different activities to choose from. Immediately to the left is their golf simulator which seemed to be a very popular attraction already. To the right is their Balladium (which was new to me) where teams can target each other with balls. Then a little ways in you get to their laser tag arena.


The most striking thing about this arena is the aesthetic. When I walked in my first thought was "Wow!" Not because of the size of the arena (which is a little small at only around 2000 square feet), but more because of the really cool atmosphere you walk into. The lights danced actively against some beautiful neon graphic art walls, making it both bright and dark simultaneously. These were NOT the same old maze walls I see so many places.


Owners Frank and Rob were kind enough to show me around. This was a really stunning arena! It's kind of an industrial meets western theme which was best illustrated by the centerpiece where the reactor is hidden in plain sight (the sensors look clear until they start to light up).


The perimeter walls were airbrushed (reminiscent of the Force centers I played in Sacramento and Gresham...ok this guy looks EXACTLY like the one in Gresham)...


...and the bases were housed under structures like this one marking "mine shaft 1".


I put on a gen 7 pack and played on Saturday with a small family group (bearing in mind this place literally JUST opened their doors a few days earlier) so it was a light game where I tried to coach more than anything else.


I didn't have much time for anything more as I was trying to keep on schedule to meet up with my friends in Toronto.


However, the next day as I was headed back home I decided to stop back to Epic Gaming and play a little more tag while I was still in Canada. Although the arena is small I really did enjoy playing and I would certainly make a point to stop back the next time I visit Toronto. Not only for the tag, but also because there is an AMAZING smoothie shop practically right next door. So there's two great reasons to return to Epic Gaming!



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Sunday, January 14, 2018

We secretly replaced Cody's regular pack with Folgers Crystals...

As I was scraping the ice buried under several inches of snow off my car before leaving for tag I almost decided to turn around and go back inside where it was warm. But I felt like I hadn't gotten in a full night of tag in awhile, so I pushed through the cold and barely plowed roads and set out for Syracuse anyway. My first stop was FJ, but they didn't have a group sticking around for the night, so I called over to the Force center. Fox told me they had about a dozen players on this snowy evening, so I headed the 20 minutes across town and was glad to see it was worth the drive along those unplowed roads...if not for the tag, then at least for the amusement between games.
When I arrived there were a couple of members playing. Cody was there...and so was "his pack". But tonight we secretly replaced Cody's regular pack with Folgers Crystals... That is to say after every game I would hang back in the vesting room and move it to a different rack so while he's looking for it in one spot I'm able to make a beeline for it in another. Yes, I AM a grown adult and yes, this really IS what I did with my Saturday night. :)
So, this little gambit of psychological warfare continued throughout the night. Where is the pack now?

He claims it is his pack because it's "on the tournament sheet". Meanwhile I joked that we could invent a new drinking game...take a drink every time Cody says "tournament" or "level 7" and nobody would make it through the night! Just teasing Cody, it's all in good fun. :)
So we played a variety of games including one that seemed unnecessarily brutal. Someone suggested playing members vs public, which I think could be aptly renamed "how to lose friends and alienate people". However, everyone was on board and took it least the once. During this game I signed in correctly (level six) while the other two (Mitch = Tangy Walrus and Cody = Me) signed in as level 7. However, I feel like that was doubly messed up in this scenario because they knew some computer glitch made it so that level 7s could deactivate with one shot instead of the five shots that would even the playing field. As for me, I went in as a 6 and was the only one playing that round playing with the three shot requirement for fairness and balance. However, I'll let the results and karma do the talking on this one...

The night ended with a round of Photon emulation, so I was a happy camper for having come out to tag in spite of the weather. Now, cross my fingers for decent driving next weekend and I may have another adventure to share outside of the area, meaning Cody can play using "his pack" least until he goes back to college or I return to 'cuse, whichever comes first. :)
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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bye Bye Barski's, Hello GlowTron

I didn't actually get to play tag this weekend. I had planned to go on Friday...then the center closed early due to bad weather. I was busy doing the sound for a show in Corning all of Saturday and on Sunday I figured I'd either detour by way of Rochester for some Tron (but the temperatures were so cold I thought better of driving that far out of my way) or visit Barski's when I passed back through Ithaca on my way home. However, when I got there I learned that it was no longer Barski's...there is new ownership and it is now GlowTron Laser Runners.

Now, don't let the new name fool you. This is not a Tron center. This site still uses Lazer Runner. I had not been here in about a year, so I missed the fact that a transition had taken place. I didn't get to play because I walked in alone on a quiet Sunday afternoon while a group was finishing up their last game, however this gave me an opportunity to have a nice chat with Steven, the new owner, and he shared a few interesting things about his future plans for the business. First he told me that he intends to increase the size of the current arena by extending it out into the lobby space. I think that will certainly make a big difference as the existing arena is quite small and built inside an area that was once a clothing store (an Abercrombie I think?) so some expansion would definitely help improve the space that he took over inside the mall. However, I'm more excited because he told me about his other plans to open a second location with a significantly larger arena and run some tournaments and special event/theme nights. This is great news and I hope to see it happen. The place is not currently set up to be much more than a casual mall attraction, but he also said he was looking at some newer equipment (albeit the same system) so I will keep an eye on this business with hopes that things progress and he is able to expand. Operating in a college town, I know this place has had a decent clientele and a location closer to the college would be great to keep that growing. So best of luck and I hope to tag at the new GlowTron before too long!
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Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

I was definitely ready to laser tag my way into 2018, but I didn't decide on going to the New Year's Eve party in Syracuse until pretty much the last minute. After tagging in Albany on Friday night I really expected I'd end up out east playing my New Year's in Queensbury just to mix it up a bit. However, I changed my mind and am glad I went to the Force center instead because it turned out to be a really fun night, straight from the first Rickroll. :)


The members all played together in one of three rotating groups. This meant basically a second night of playing all special format  games including some Gladiator and Photon (which made it worth it right there), but in between rounds they had some fun party activities including an air hockey tournament (I only made it past the first bracket, but held my own considering), some Bingo, pizza and plenty of door prize drawings. I was ready to slay in the guitar hero tournament, but unfortunately they were down a controller so it didn't happen (which means nobody can prove how early I probably would have been eliminated, lol). So instead I got my musical fix by programming some REAL party music on the "jukebox". As an actual DJ I felt obligated to "correct the earlier musical atrocities" with a little 80s tribute. ;) That preceded the dance contest which I didn't actually get to see because I opted instead to play the last members game of the night.


Don't ask me why, but for some reason I felt I had to end the year with a bit of my own antics (seems appropriate considering...) so for the last game before midnight I made a beeline for "Cody's pack" instead of letting him swoop it up as usual. I was totally obnoxious about playing with the X-Ray pack and loudly commenting that all the skill and magic was in that "lucky pack". Fortunately I had a decent game to back that up!



And I ended by announcing to the room that this was my favorite pack that I'd used regularly (um...since Thursday) and it would now be my permanent pack. Lol...I couldn't care less about the pack, but I don't think poor Cody expected that from me and it shook things up a bit for that game...just chill, it's all in good fun. ;)


And then (after NOT winning the X-Box) we were right up against midnight, but I decided it was better to get back on the roads early and avoid the crazy NYE drivers rather than watch the ball drop. So I said my goodbyes and headed home contemplating what an awesome year of tag I had in 2017 and how fitting it was to close the year out like this.


When I think about the past year it makes me think about my top 10 tag memories of 2017...


1. Playing tag with members of the Alaska National Guard in Wasilla, AK and being featured in an Alaska newspaper -

3. Being invited to tour the iCOMBAT headquarters in Waukesha, WI

4. Interviewing laser tag Industry Innovator Martin Shoebridge after he contacted me through my blog

5. Taking first place at the Jungle Rapids tournament in Wilmington, NC

6. Deciding on the spur of the moment (aka in the middle of my work day) to hop on a plane with nothing more than the clothes I had in my car to play in a tournament in Utah

7. Playing at my 100th laser tag arena in Idaho

8. Playing at Baltigeddon with Team Syracuse-ish

9. Playing in my first CyberBlast tournament in Ohio

10. Playing several rare systems including Actual Reality and Intersphere


So thanks to all who tagged in the new year with me last night and to all who were part of making those awesome memories in 2017. I already have big plans for tagging my way across the rest of the country in 2018 so I'm looking forward to all that this coming year will bring. Happy New Year!



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