Hot and Sweaty

Richmond

Photo credit: Laser Quest of Richmond.

Sweat pouring down my face, as “Your Mom” was lighting me up, I tried everything, but it was too much. Forced to retreat, I needed more power. I would use his weaknesses against him: short, pudgy, small brained. I formulated a new plan of attack. Lowering myself to the dust bunny-infested floor, I proceeded to crawl and shoot around the corner, bobbing in and out of sight. With “BunsInTheOven” behind me, we dominated.

Me with my game card Photo Credit: Draden Gaffney

With my game card.
Photo credit: Draden Gaffney.

There on Midlothian Turnpike, a hidden gem, a magical heaven that is nothing short of nirvana for the young at heart. Entering the great unknown, we walked through the door, crossing over and into the Promised Land, and were promptly slapped in the face by the nostalgic smell of sweat, old pizza, and deranged small children. This, my friends, is LaserQuest.

Laser Quest is a family entertainment venue combining the classic games of hide-and-seek and tag with a modern-day twist. Currently the world’s leader in the laser tag industry, the entirely indoor multi-level arena offers limitless fun for reckless abandonment.

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Photo credit: One of the Gaffneys.

My brother Draden Gaffney (‘16) and I paid to play one Ironman Game, which includes 30 minutes of heart-thumping playing time with swirling fog, energetic music, and fun waiting around every corner. Once we paid, we were handed Laser Quest cards and used these to get our code names. Our code names, “ManInTheWindow” and “BunsInTheOven,” were put onto our “activators.” While waiting, we sat down, mentally preparing for what lay ahead, as I scoped out the competition. Primarily small children, a few families, and a surprising number of male adults. When I asked “Dank Memes,” a code name for a junior at a local high school,  “What brings you to Laser Quest?” he responded with a straight face, “My car.” Wit and an inclination for bad humor are common themes at Laser Quest.

A short, bearded man with a phenomenal Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation was our marshal for our IronMan mission. Once our game was called, we were herded into the dark briefing room, where our marshal went over rules and procedures. Despite his best effort to enforce the “No running, no cursing, no touching” policy, we could not resist. We ran, we cursed, we touched. He informed us that if we were shot, our laser would deactivate and be unable to shoot for one second, before being capable of firing again.

We tried to obey Photo Credit: Draden Gaffney

We tried to obey.
Photo credit: Draden Gaffney.

Next, we entered the AirLock chamber, where we received the packs that hung around our shoulders embedded with targets, which our incredibly potent lasers were attached too. Once we secured our packs, we ran into the arena screaming and giggling like the seven-year-old boys that we were up against.

The layout of the arena is maze-like, with two towers toward the north end that allow for the opportunity to overlook the rest of the arena. Toward the south end the maze is intricate but provides optimal cover and prime sniping spots. Mirrors line the wall to allow for the lasers to deflect, while the whole arena remains incredibly dark. 

Drawing upon our wisdom and experience from the many birthday parties we had here as children, my brother’s and my strategy was to attack the two towers ferociously, leaving all the small children dazed and confused as to what hit them. There are three pathways up to the two towers; we chose the middle because it offered an elevated advantage, while being able to snipe and massacre both towers and their escape routes. We were poised for victory.

As the game began, the fog added an intense feeling as the pressure to perform lingered in the air. Keeping my head on a swivel, I spun in circles while keeping my laser on full blast. With Gaffney covering my back, we were lighting it up. With sweat flooding down my face so much I could hardly see, and my muscles aching under the weight of the pack, I was running on fumes fueled by the annoying squeals of immature 12-year-olds.

One kid stood out from the rest; while playing he couldn’t help but yell out whatever came to his mind. A dirty mind he had indeed. After introducing myself, I asked for his name, to which he replied, “I bet your mom would give you my name.” Wow, I thought to myself, This here is the future of America. With hope, I asked, “How ‘bout a first name?” The brobdingnagian child, and the only person sweating more than me, yelled, “Your Mom!” His parents must be so proud. This kid is going places. Laughing at the level of maturity, and how much he reminded me of myself, he summed up all things great about Laser Quest.

After the game’s conclusion, we returned our lasers and went to the foyer to wait for our marshal to announce the scores. “BunsInTheOven” came in 5th and “ManInTheWindow” came in 8th. I couldn’t help but notice first, second, and third were all men around the age of thirty. When I asked “TheFiesta,” whose real name is Ryan Pellet, “What is your secret to success?” He said, “It’s just like any sport or activity; you have to play a lot.” Ryan Pellet is not your typical Laser Quest player; he is a professional, scoring over 3100 points, while second place only had 1800 points. “I used to play at least two or three times a week… Just last month I was in Las Vegas for a tournament,” Pellet said. His two partners in crime, “TheLaw” and “FlyingKite,” who came in second and third, respectively, and were professionals too. “TheLaw” is headed to England next month for a tournament. Looking at this trio, one would never expect that they are nationally-ranked Laser Quest assassins.

The AirLock: Photo Credit: TripAdvisor

The AirLock:
Photo credit: TripAdvisor.

Laser Quest should be everyone’s destination for fun, no matter the age. It offers great exercise in a competitive environment without the stress. LaserQuest transforms even the most mature and reserved of people into screaming and giggling little children who still retain their innocence. I recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure and pure bliss.

About the author

Senior at Collegiate school. Has a twin brother. Likes soccer and protein.