Monday, May 21, 2018

New Tag Swag

I was at my local laser tag arena over the weekend and I noticed something new behind the counter. New t-shirts and hoodies for sale or, as I affectionately call them, "tag swag".


This was exciting for two reasons. First, I just love new merch. "Take my money" I said to Beanz before checking out the sizes and styles of the shirts he brought out. Second, I think that cool promotional items should be a MUST for any site looking to brand itself as a destination.


Offering t-shirts for sale is smart business. You are essentially getting customers to pay you so that they can wear your name and logo as free advertising for your site. Who knows where that shirt will be seen? I often wear my tag shirts while visiting other laser tag locations and a lot of times I get people asking about them. But even just sporting your site's logo on a keychain or water bottle might put your business name in front of a new potential customer...or at least raise some curiosity. In any case, I see no down side to it, even if you only break even on the merchandise sales.


Every time I travel to a new tag site I ask if they have any t-shirts or logo merchandise  for sale. It's nice to have a souvenir of a good experience, whether it's from a trip I've taken or from a local spot just down the road. However, if I had to guesstimate how many of the places I've been to have had tag swag available I'd imagine that it's way less than half of them. So, to the sites that offer something like this for their customers I say "good going, let me wear your shirt". And to the others I would strongly encourage you talk with a local print shop or look for one of the many businesses out there that create custom merchandise, either in bulk or on demand. I know the "tag swag" page on my website hasn't been updated in awhile, but I promise to work on that soon. And if I've ended up with some swag from your tag location then you will get an extra bit of free advertising as a result. :) Good all the way around!


And speaking of the website (as I do maintain this blog in two locations)...


A friend recently brought it to my attention that when he did a Google search for the words 'laser tag blog' (without quotations) he discovered that my blog currently comes up on Google in the top 5 listings (and maybe higher now that I've just used "Google" three times in a sentence). I was so pleasantly shocked to learn this! I've also recently been learning that I have some international readers and have received several correspondences from overseas. This is so incredibly humbling because I started writing this just to document my own little adventures and I am so heartened that it has found an audience. I appreciate it every time I hear from someone who has found something of value in this blog and takes the time to let me know.


So since I do maintain this blog in two locations you might be reading this on my full website at under the heading of Tiv Talks Tag or you might be finding it where it originally started at If you are on the website, THANK YOU and hope you are enjoying all the extra content I have put together there including interviews, tour of the Laser Tag Museum, photos of laser tag collectibles and more. If you are reading it on the blogspot page, THANK YOU for helping to get the blog to that level of visibility online. I feel so fortunate that you have taken the time to read this and I hope you continue to follow my laser tag adventures. There's lots more still to come! :)



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Friday, May 11, 2018

Helios Pro in Hawaii

Aloha! I am just back from an amazing vacation to Hawaii that included so many remarkable highlights (a luau, a helicopter tour of the island, cruising with the dolphins and snorkeling with the ocean life...I actually held an octopus!), but the catalyst for planning the trip that included all of this fun was my desire to play tag at the one and only laser tag arena in the state, Tiki's Family Fun Center in Honolulu on the island of O'ahu.

This was absolutely my biggest tag trip to date with the most complicated travel arrangements. It's about 13 hours to fly to Hawaii. Until now I had never needed to enlist the help of a travel agent, but I give a big shout out to Danielle at Liberty Travel for coordinating a great hotel within walking distance to Waikiki beach and only about three miles away from the arena. Some people think that Alaska must be the most difficult state to get to, but personally I found planning for Hawaii to be an even greater undertaking. Now, this trip was over six months in the making and so I had of course contacted the arena before booking the flight because I wanted to be certain they would be open during my visit. I confirmed my plans with manager Romalyn who was very helpful and met me upon arrival.
Even before I got there I had decided to purchase a membership for this site (both to take home the card and to enjoy the unlimited tag that the membership afforded me for the night).

Then Romalyn took us on a tour of the arena between games to see their facility. First passing through the briefing room...

And then a walk through the arena, which is a little under 3000 square feet with a red base in the far left corner and the blue base in the closer right corner as you enter.

They have an Aztec theme and I understand they have undergone a renovation since becoming a Zone site. Previously this arena was called Rascal's and at that time they were a Laserforce location, but I was told the center was purchased by the new ownership a couple of years ago, became Tiki's and converted to Helios Pro.

There was a nice flow to the arena and it was easy to pick out a couple of choice locations with good sight lines. The experienced players understood the value a good base defense and were the most fun to play against, although throughout the night it was a mixed bag of players. In spite of fighting the jet lag and the six hour time difference (which had really tired me out) we enjoyed playing several games with some of the members and the public players.

However, the best part was the surprise of running into Michael and members of the Hawaiian team that I had played against at Battle For The Fort 4 the last time I was in Indiana. I really should have connected the dots prior to the trip...obviously with one arena in the entire state this MUST be the place where the Hawaiian team practices. However, I had not thought about that until we made re-introductions in the arena and realized that we had already played against each other at that tournament. What's great about laser tag is that it facilitates friendships all over the country (and even the world) and I am pleasantly surprised very often to run into people I already know while traveling in other states. Here I am hanging with Michael, Dave and Chris (aka Obi, Hito and Master Yoda).
We spent half the night just talking tag and sharing stories. They taught me a couple of words in Hawaiian (my little gecko in Hawaiian is called mo'o and the octopus I held earlier in the day is called a tako) and this made the experience even nicer. I hope we cross paths again at another tournament soon! :)
So that was my experience playing laser tag in Hawaii, my 45th state. This tag adventure has taken me to so many remarkable places for amazing adventures. And since I've mentioned "tako" a couple of times let me share with you a pic of the octopus and other ocean life we encountered in the Pacific...

And a few spectacular views taken from the helicopter...

Aloha Hawaii!

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