It's a Wednesday night in the Bay Area and you are looking to unwind with friends, maybe have some laughs, maybe listen to some dance remixes, but you don't feel like blowing a ton of money on getting drunk at a bar because you have work tomorrow and some dignity to maintain. What are you going to do? Answer: get on the freeway and head to Concord, California, home of Q-Zar Laser Tag: The Place Where Dreams Come True.
Back story: my cousin-in-law (brother of my cousin's husband) (that sounds random but she's like my best cousin and he's a cool dude) is in town. Apparently, two years ago, he discovered the joys of laser tag and he wanted to share the wealth because he knows gifts like laser tag are better when shared. When I realized I would have to go all the way to Concord for this event, a town so far away I'd never even heard of it, I planned on bailing, like any normal San Franciscan would, but when other plans got canceled and the cousin-in-law offered me a ride, I just couldn't say no. Thank god I didn't.
Laser tag is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: you are trying to tag the other team with your laser gun. So I guess it's more like Capture the Flag than straight tag, because you are in teams and you are trying to be sneaky and if you get past all the members of the other team to their headquarters, you can shoot your laser gun into a giant orb and get thousands of extra points. There are also fog machines, black lights, a lot of obstacles, pounding music, strobe lights and sirens. It sounded complicated to me when the expert explainer, DeShawn, briefed us on the rules in a dark room only lit by black lights and neon paint. But after about three minutes of strobe lights and laser shooting, you get the idea. And at that point, you start having an old-fashioned kind of fun, feeling that feeling you used to feel during base tag when one of the older kids was chasing you across a playground, gaining on you, and you felt like if you didn't make it to base, you would die.
As an added bonus, when you pay for more than one game (AND YOU WILL WANT TO), you get a bag of tokens to be used in the accompanying arcade. And while the arcade games are cool and you can win sweet plastic toys, the best way to spend your tokens is by giving them to the boys playing the Dance Dance Revolution-like game near the front entrance (they say it's harder than actual Dance Dance Revolution and they are so good they go to TOURNAMENTS and stuff so they would know). These kids are amazing. Make sure you support their dancing between games of laser tag. Here's a taste of what you will see: