Thursday, December 31, 2020

My Top Ten Laser Tag Highlights of 2020

This past weekend I completed another 5K challenge while playing my final games of laser tag for the year, which seemed like a fitting way to close things out while setting the stage for things I hope to do next year...although finishing my 20 miles in 20 days dumpster fire challenge to bid farewell to 2020 certainly seems apropos in its own way too!


As we look back on 2020 it would be easy to just lament all the things we couldn’t do this year, but I want to take a moment to appreciate the things that I actually DID get to do this year. And in retrospect I am grateful that there were still plenty of good memories for me to reminisce about this time around. Here is my top ten list of laser tag highlights from 2020.

 1.  Tagging in several tournaments in support of worthwhile causes. I was proud to play with Team NYMO and take first place at the Code Yellow Tournament for Whitney in memory of a brave little girl’s battle with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare type of brain cancer that usually affects children. I also had a great time tagging in support of scholarships for Kids Chance of Arkansas and bringing home the Hot Shot award.

 2. Playing the final game at LQ Phoenix prior to the lockdown in support of the Doreen Katz Memorial Cancer Foundation. This night meant so much, particularly with the benefit of hindsight. Great fun, food and friends. I could not have asked for a better final night at Laser Quest, although there was no way to know then just how final it really was. You see, this event was held on the evening of Sunday, March 15th and the very next day the decision was made to close all the Laser Quest locations in America for what we hoped would be the short term. Unfortunately, most LQs never opened their doors again and now looking back on that night is bittersweet.

 3. Interviewing Laser Storm founder Bob Cooney on the 30th anniversary of his system. This interview took place actually 30 years to the day (nearly) as the interview happened on March 11th and March 12, 1990 is the date that Laser Storm was established. Such uncanny timing!

 4. Winning the very first Laser Trooper tournament to ever take place in the U.S. Considering there is only one site in the whole country where this particular system is played this is a rare piece of laser tag history that I am honored to claim. Simply getting myself to the tournament at all was quite a challenge because bad weather on the east coast caused many flight cancellations and I ended up renting a car and driving over 16 hours in order to get there in time. Worth it for the experience, and even more so when I saw the custom trophy they had made for me after the event!

 5. Attending the laser tag Convention and Amusement expo in New Orleans. Honestly, if I had known what was to come I would have shown up a day early to get the proper “convention” experience, but being given press access because of my blog, having my photo appear in RePlay Magazine and spending a couple of days with great friends (culminating in a VERY memorable game of laser tag in Metairie) made this show such a wonderful experience.


6. Launching the first Tiviachick’s Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge To raise money for pancreatic cancer research. This was the start of something I hope to grow in 2021. Timing may not have been ideal, but the concept is one I am excited about building on and I thank all who contributed to helping a cause that hits very close to home with my family.


 7. Hosting Tiviachick’s Top Ten Laser Tag Arena contest to spark some positivity and appreciation for the laser tag industry while spotlighting some really impressive arenas. Every arena got votes from their fans and votes were received from across 21 states and five countries.

 8. Having a rare opportunity to play Cybertag by Laserwar for the very first time. When laser tag first started to open up again in my state the first place I went to play was a small site that had only just opened up three weeks before everything had to shut down. What a way to start out in business! But the first week they re-opened I was there to try out a system I had never played before and call this a VERY unique way to return to laser tag.

 9. Receiving a couple of Zone V3 packs from Australia to add to my collection with thanks to a friend in the land down under. I have been lucky to acquire some rarities, but swapping souvenirs from across the globe is really something remarkable and speaks to what a big family the laser tag community really is!

 10.  Adding my voice to recording a four-part audio drama following the “live action” of a mock LQ tournament from the viewpoint of a sports commentator. I played the part of color commentator Renee Roccasalva along with Daniel “MamaHydra” Leach and Tiana Daniels and amazingly with some microphone coordination and the remote help of Anagram Sound we were able to share the laser tag experience vicariously, even when nobody was actually able to play. I am honored to have been part of this project.

Honorable mention - Although not specifically laser tag related, my tag travels did take me off the beaten path to a really memorable experience in Tucson, AZ.  In between tag locations I had the chance to tour the Tanque Verde Ranch where they filmed Hey Dude, one of my favorite television shows from when I was young. Believe it or not, the main set buildings are still standing 30 years later in a remote part of the ranch out in the middle of the desert. I am so thankful that the staff of the ranch were kind enough to allow me to tour the remnants of something that I have incredibly fond memories of from my childhood. This was just a little icing on the cake in retrospect.

So even though 2020 did not turn out anything like what we expected at the beginning of the year, I am still extraordinarily thankful for all the things that did take place before and during the navigation of such a challenging year. 


Comments or Questions?


Websites: and

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Christmas Was Different This Year

Christmas 2020 was bound to be different. In the weeks leading up to the holiday I tried to do a few of my traditional activities, like take a holiday laser tag photo (even though this year’s pic was taken inside my office, not at an arena).

And we added a new tradition with the lighting of the company Christmas tree (which also turned into a laser tag photo op).

And that led to an intense couple of days figuring out how to do our toy drive distribution in an atypical situation. My company coordinates this annual toy collection to help over 30 local charities, but this year we had to limit the people in the building and for the first time we had to bag and allocate toys for these charities without the help of any additional volunteers, so we figured out how to accomplish the task with only the twelve of us employees getting it done. 

Worthwhile? Absolutely! This toy drive is one of the most rewarding things I am involved with during the holidays. This year we collected and distributed 48,000 toys which the charities passed along to thousands of local families in need to make sure those kids had something special waiting for them on Christmas morning. This event warms my heart.

However, another event this Christmas morning absolutely breaks my heart. I woke up to learn about the Christmas morning explosion in Nashville. As tragic and senseless as this would be anywhere, it struck a personal chord when I read the reports that it happened directly across from the former LQ Nashville location. Although this site was already closed, seeing the news photos of Second Ave hit home with me. This was a special building and a very unique LQ. I looked back to find my photos from when I visited Nashville last year to find these pics of the LQ sign.

I don’t know whether or not it was still hanging before the explosion, but no doubt this senseless event took down one more piece of laser tag history before 2020 was over. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nashville and my heart is just overwhelmed by it all.

Christmas 2020 was very different indeed.

Comments or Questions?


Websites: and


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Win These Laser Tag Ornaments!

This year I’m decorating the tree with phaser-inspired ornaments!

To help spread some holiday cheer I will be giving away this pair of laser tag ornaments to one lucky blog reader. These are hand cast ornaments (i.e. custom and only available here). Register to win the pair of ornaments by submitting the form found at between now and Midnight Eastern time on December 18th. The winner will be announced on December 19, 2020 at

*Must be 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address. One entry per person. Winner will be drawn at random from all eligible entries received by 12:00 midnight Eastern Standard Time on December 18, 2020.


Comments or Questions?


Websites: and

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Thank You 5K Challengers!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who donated, participated in and supported the very first Tiviachick’s Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge.

Let me give a shout out to the challengers who earned their medal while laser tagging and making a donation in support of the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research.

Thank you to Shadowdragon…

Thank you to Lil Bit, Assassin and Alex Boxes…

Thank you to the camera-shy supporter who doesn’t show up on film, but still gets to represent here…

Yes, this is a bag of Green Beans. :)

Thank you to TJH and Nick of the Straight Edge Punks…

And thank you to Gregg and Anne Marie and entire the team at Apex Entertainment Albany…

I received quite a few encouraging messages from people telling me that this idea for combining fundraising and fitness through laser tag was one worth pursuing. However, I also recognize that timing is everything and the timing for launching this challenge may not have been ideal (what with the election, the second wave of the pandemic and so many laser tag arenas still being closed in other parts of the nation), so that’s why I plan to launch another Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge at some point in the future when the timing is more reasonable for getting even more people involved. Watch for details about the next challenge and the next charity we can collectively support through laser tag. And thanks again to all who helped to make a difference during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month by helping to Tag 4 A Cause!


Comments or Questions?


Websites: and

Monday, November 30, 2020

Level Up!

I recently had a chance to try out a few new game features that Laserforce has unveiled and I must say that some of what I learned about is really interesting. If you thought you had ascended as far as you could (which in most arenas is Level 6 - Laser Master) then get ready to level up! There are officially three new levels that have been added. Yes, I realize some arenas have already been using their own customized criteria to create additional levels, but I am more in favor of standardized levels (making comparison more “apples to apples” between sites) and I’m glad to see more of them. Now you can earn a Level 7 (Conqueror), Level 8 (Titan) or Level 9 (Legend) and to do so you are required to play a minimum number of games at each new level before ascending to the next. I like the idea that this will prevent simply jumping the levels. The one feature that accompanies this expansion to the skill level system that I am most enthused about is the option for battlefield promotion, which I understand will be an option for ZapTag systems (i.e. sites without memberships) and THAT is a real game changer…literally! It allows for leveling up to occur WITHIN A GAME, meaning that if you are at a site where everyone defaults to Level 1, now the more experienced players will advance to more challenging levels during the course of playing the game and that should offer a bit more balance to those games. I hope this will be implemented at some of the non-member sites where I play because I consider this a particularly useful new feature that will help make things more fun for everyone. It will also make a difference at a few member sites too in that it should help to keep experienced members from going through their rolodex of membership cards just to strategically use them (or not use them at all) to farm points on non-members (ahem, *cough*…Cody). It looks like the site will have the option to choose whether leveling up will enable special abilities or not, which may also make things a bit more interesting.

I learned about these new features while playing with a group of members in Syracuse who were on board to try a new game format called “Level Up” for which the objective is to ascend from Level 1 all the way through to Level 9. Everyone starts at Level 1 which is denoted by the pack lighting up red.

As you “level up” your pack changes color. I watched mine go from red to orange to yellow to green, etc. Playing with an experienced group made this an interesting game and I would be curious to see how it goes over with the general public. I think non-members will find acquiring special abilities that they otherwise might not get to try to be a really unique aspect of this game.

And the final thing that I learned about that night was the release of new Gen 8 avatars. To me personally the avatars are not that big of a deal, but seeing the new designs did get some conversations started among the members.

There are some pop culture resemblances that everyone picked up on, but the one my team debated about the most was the guy second in on the top row. I say he’s a dead ringer for Diedrich Bader’s character in Office Space. Everyone else see it now? And I even think I see a player resemblance in the first avatar…but I leave that to you to decide.

All in all, my takeaway after playing is that these new levels will make the biggest difference in making games more enjoyable where there is a wide disparity between player abilities. I think this will help casual players to have a better time and not feel overwhelmed by experienced players (who might not have a member night available right now) and at a time when the laser tag industry is still rebuilding in the wake of the pandemic I think anything that helps all players, regardless of skill level, to enjoy laser tag together is a good thing.


Comments or Questions?


Websites: and

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Raising Funds and Awareness Through Laser Tag

The very first Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge supporting the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research will continue to be an opportunity for fitness and fundraising through laser tag during the entire month of November! It got off to a great start and I was able to complete my personal 5K challenge while hosting an event with thanks to Apex Entertainment in Albany, NY.

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and that made this a timely opportunity to encourage others to help make a difference by donating to the cause while pledging to laser tag the equivalent of 5K (or 3.1 miles) by tracking their own cumulative distance over the course of several games of laser tag. How many games would it take for me to get to 5K? We would soon find out! Wearing s purple ribbon on my laser tag pack I was ready to begin the challenge.

And I wasn’t alone in taking on this challenge. Although the games to complete the challenge would be played with public groups throughout a busy Saturday afternoon, I was met right at the start of the day by TJH (from the alternative punk band “Straight Edge Punks”) who was the first player to join me in taking on his own laser tag 5K challenge. Props to him for being the first!

We tracked our steps together through several games as I measured my own personal distance on my Fitbit (although you can use any fitness tracker or phone app as a pedometer) and within only three games we had hit the first milestone mark getting to 1K.

Various groups played throughout the day as the challenge continued.

This provided an excellent opportunity for raising awareness. Prior to each game I was able to let the players know that this is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and to symbolize this everyone was offered a free purple ribbon. They were also welcome to take a glow in the dark wristband.

Games continued and before long I had hit the 2K mark.

And each step of the way I was live blogging and posting updates and awareness via social media. I shared my personal reasons for supporting this particular cause. My big brother, Guy, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012. I kept his photo on display so that people would know that this day I was there to laser tag in memory of my brother.

Every step of the way we got closer to the goal, keeping track of the cumulative distance on a display board in the lobby.

Closer and closer…

…arriving at the 4K mark playing alongside this group.

And a couple of games later I completed the challenge as I hit the 5K goal!

However, with a couple of hours remaining in the day I decided to see how much further I could go. As another member of the S.E.P. group joined the Tag 4 A Cause challenge a bit later in the day we had to keep it going so that he could reach his goal as well. After all, pledging to laser tag 5K and donating to the cause is how you earn one of these victory medals!

By the time the arena was ready to close I had completed 15 games and come within .03 miles of hitting the 7K mark…so close!!!! So even though the night was over I asked the game marshal to run one more partial game for the three of us who were still there, just to play long enough to cover that tiny bit of distance. So the 16th game only last a couple of minutes, but put me over the 7K mark and getting these two guys to the completion of their challenge goals as well.

This was an amazing opportunity to bring some attention to the pancreatic cancer research. One of the reasons that I selected the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research as the recipient of support from Tag 4 A Cause is because their website proudly affirms that “Thanks to separate funding to support administrative expenses, 100 percent of every donation goes directly to research.” (

And for the entire month of November I will continue to host the challenge online for anyone to complete in ANY laser tag arena on their own. Want to get involved and help make a difference during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month? Here’s how in three easy steps...

  1. Pledge to laser tag the distance of a 5K in the laser tag arena of your choice anytime during the month of November. It’s like a virtual run/walk fundraiser, only you laser tag instead and measure your own cumulative distance using a fitness tracker or phone app. It might take approximately 10-12 games to reach the equivalent of 5K (or 3.1 miles) and can be done all in one day or over multiple days at your own pace. Please share your results!
  2. Donate (suggested donation $20.00 or more) to the Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Research using my fundraiser page at percent of every donation goes directly to research!
  3. Claim your victory medal by submitting the confirmation number from your receipt to verify your donation using the online form found at and celebrate your 5K achievement with this token of my thanks for your participation and donation. *Medals are available in limited quantities for the first 50 participants who donate and submit the form. Due to shipping costs, medals will only be sent to U.S. mailing addresses, but digital certificates will be emailed to participants outside of the U.S. 

 Once again, my thanks to Apex Entertainment in Albany for hosting me for this challenge. Together we are making a difference and I thank everyone who played a part in helping me launch the very first Tiviachick’s Tag 4 A Cause Laser Tag 5K Challenge!

Comments or Questions?


Websites: and