• WHAT: Laser Quest
• WHERE: 2100 Standiford Avenue, Modesto CA
• WHEN: Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The maze is available for special events on Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.
• FOR MORE INFO: Visit www.laserquest.com or call (209) 526-0000.
MODESTO – Jamie Harwood throws a vest over her shoulder and readjusts it.
She looks down and checks her gun – making sure that everything is working the way that it’s supposed to – and gives everything a once over as a huge roll-up doors starts to creak and moan in the darkness.
Harwood is ready for war.
But this isn’t the kind of war where she has to brace for flying projectiles. There won’t be any paintballs sailing across the map and tagging her in the back of the leg or airsoft pellets catching her on her bare skin.
This is Laser Tag. It’s high energy, low impact and incredibly popular with kids and families that enjoy doing things together.
“We do a lot of birthdays but we also get families down here where grandparents are able to come in and play as well,” said Harwood – one of the managers at Modesto’s Laser Quest. “It gets pretty crazy in there but it’s something that anybody can do.”
And nobody is safe when they walk into the 12,000-square-foot maze.
There are nooks, crannies, obstacles, corners and towers galore. There are places that seem like wonderful hiding spots where you can lay in wait and nobody can see you. There are places that make you feel like you’re safe.
But nobody is safe. A healthy dose of smoke helps the lasers finds their target, and mirrors are everywhere into the confusing maze – allowing participants to bounce their beam off and tag somebody around a corner or clear across the room.
Even the strongholds – the three castle-like towers that seem like they’d be fortresses – aren’t immune. Grates replace the wooden floors on portions of the top level so someone from down below can shoot up.
It becomes a madhouse, Hardwood said, when more than two-dozen people are all flying around the maze and trying to tag one another.
“It’s all about fun, but some people take it serious,” she said. “We have people that are members and when they come out they track their progress right away to see how well they did.
“It kind of adds another dimension to the game for them. The public games are a free-for-all but people can form alliances and that changes thing up a bit.”
The concept is simple: Shoot one of the sensors on another person before they shoot yours and you get points. Get hit and you lose points. Those with the most at the end of the game get bragging rights.
But simple tag isn’t the only game mode out there. For those searching for something a little bit more hardcore, Gladiator matches – the last game on Friday and Saturday nights – will actually get your picture up on the wall for all to see.
Those with a true hankering for some realistic war games come out for the overnighters – like the Super Bowl and Cereal event that will run from midnight to 7 a.m. and gives those who pre-register for $35 the chance to play all night.
“What’s cool to see are the kids that will come in with their friends and point out their picture on the wall,” Harwood said. “They all get a big kick out of it, and it’s something that a lot of kids shoot for.
“Who doesn’t want to be the best?”
Laser Quest is located at 2100 Standiford Avenue near the intersection of Prescott. For additional information visit www.laserquest.com or call (209) 526-0000.
— JASON CAMPBELL
209 staff reporter