I had one day to pack in a lot of activity because I was set to fly home on Sunday. So Saturday I woke up early and drove out to Melbourne, FL to start my day at Funtown Family Entertainment Center. It was early in the day and I was not expecting there to be many people at that hour, but I introduced myself to the assistant manager Britney (who had also been at IAAPA this week) and she was great about connecting me with an employee, Monica, to play a quick 1v1 so I could check out their arena. This was a small, single level arena with painted wooden walls and a real retro vibe.
The arena and the vesting room connected and there was a lot of fog in the air as we started the game.
They were using Rift, which normally feels like second nature to me, but this time something felt slightly different. I noticed that the vests seemed to flash a little differently when I landed a tag. Sometimes they just flashed when hit, sometimes going white and then dark when deactivated. And the sound cues seemed a little more like a "chime" than what I am accustomed to hearing.
I asked Britney and was told that they have been using the Rift software for quite awhile, but they had the vests replaced within the last 8-10 months, so I guess it's possible these new vests could have accounted for the differences I noticed. It's too bad IAAPA was over or I'd have asked a few more questions. ;)
This arena is an accent attraction to their skating rink, but I was glad to get to check it out and play a game to start the day. Thank you Funtown!
Then I was moving on to Andretti Thrill Park, also in Melbourne. They had a fun little arena upstairs above the arcade. It was just a small part of this FEC where go carts appear to be the main attraction.
It was still early in the day and I had to wait for a group to show up for tag, but eventually I was joined by a family who were also interested in playing some Delta Strike.
This clearly used to be a Lazer Runner arena. All the hallmarks were there, from the entry to the bases...below the bases.
This was a really light game. I was definitely not going to go hard against this group, especially since there was no game explanation given at all so I don't think they really understood that you need to take multiple shots to deplete and deactivate with this system. But it was a fun little break from the day and they had a nice snack bar so I could get some lunch before proceeding to my next stop.
From there I headed for Tank America, which was AMAZING and needs a more thorough write-up, so look for an upcoming post about that. Then I returned to Orlando where I played at Hukoos Family Fun (more on that soon as well because of a special feature that they have inside the arena) and Zombie Outbreak, which is not exactly a laser tag arena, but they do use laser tag equipment. All those adventures warrant a little more detail, so I'll skip over them just for the moment. What turned out to be my final tag game of the night was at Wonderworks Orlando.
Wonderworks are very popular attractions, but the tag offered there is usually pretty basic. At this location they run Lasertron equipment.
It was a cute little arena, but really there's not much to say about it that hasn't all been said before. It's definitely an attraction I'm glad to see included at Wonderworks, but there's little to the game other than target and tag. By this point in the day I was hoping for something a little out of the ordinary. So after one game I proceeded on. But I just said that this was my last game of the night and here's why...
There was one more tag location in Orlando I was interested in. It was in a very active open mall sort of setting just across the way from Wonderworks, so I walked (my car was already in the parking garage anyway). I saw the site on an upper level so I walked up excited to spend the rest of my night tagging here. Where is here? Well, I won't name it because my experience was not what I had hoped. I arrived at 7:50 in the evening (after checking their website which says they are open on Saturdays until midnight). Not even 8:00 yet and I got there to find a bored looking attendant who told me that they had already taken all the players they were going to for the night. WHAT?! She said they were going to be done with public games at 8:30 so I was getting there too late. Apparently there was a private event planned. This was frustrating and disappointing. I don't always play this card, but sometimes knowing that I'm there in part to write a blog helps me to get access, but no dice with that tonight. Sheesh, glad I made the effort! I left feeling a little irritated that I didn't get to play at this one spot I was particularly looking forward to, but I guess those are the hard breaks...or knocks if you will. Sigh, maybe next time I'm in Florida.
At least I had a good, full day of tag by this point. I returned to my hotel to pack for my flight the next day (which was probably for the best) and instead of dwelling on missing out on this one experience I instead reflected on what an amazing trip I had and how many great things I did get to experience during my travels. Thanks to all who made my Florida adventure so memorable! And keep watching because I do have more stories to share soon about the other interesting experiences I had along the way. :)
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