Our trip to LaserQuest started with a quest to find a parking spot. There is street parking available but it is hit or miss and it is metered so you have to watch your time. Alternatively, Central Park has two garages at the corners of Commerce and 3rd. Entrances are on Commerce either side of 3rd. As we bought a package for 3 games, we were parked for long enough to pay the full day parking price of $13.
It is a short walk downhill on Commerce to 2nd Avenue. From there it's a hop, skip and a jump to LaserQuest – which you enter from the street and then go straight up a flight of stairs. We didn't see an elevator but as you'll be running around a 10,500 square foot arena up and down 4 levels what's a starting staircase?
There is a small waiting area with a few benches as you enter the door and to the left you will see the ticket booth. To the right there is a small arcade you can visit. The three private group rooms for parties are also off the arcade.
(Click on the photos to see the full sized gallery)
We found the check in process a little confusing as a first timer even with the signs carefully numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. But hopefully it will be smooth sailing for you with these tips. You start at the ticket desk for steps 1 and 2. Step 1, you buy your entry to the next available game. Games start every 20 minutes starting on the hour – so 11:00, 11:20, 11:40, etc. Each game has a color card associated with it. When you purchase your entrance fee you will decide how many games you are playing and you will be issued a plastic colored card for each game. We received yellow, green, and purple.
At intervals you will be called to step 2 with announcements of “those holding green cards”. You will be asked for your in-game name for the scoreboard and you will exchange the colored plastic card for a plastic wand that will activate your laser. At this point you will stand at the signs for Step 3, waiting for admittance to the game.
All players for the game will then be admitted to the briefing room. The Marshall for the next game will give you a 5 minute tutorial on the body armor, the laser and the rules of the game. It doesn't matter how many times you play you will get the briefing each time.
From the briefing you will enter the staging room where you will adorn your body armor and laser. You put your right shoulder against the rack and lift the armor over your head onto your shoulders. This ensures the armor is put on the right way around. There are side straps to click the front and back together which can be adjusted. For the kids you will want to check the rear strap that goes between the shoulders. Adults probably won't need to worry about this strap.
The laser is your best friend and also a target for others. There are 7 target points, 2 on the shoulders, front and back and then the laser itself. The laser has sensors on each side and at the front. This means you have to be careful how you move around as others can target your laser without being able to see your body. Your laser of course only fires from the front. No around corner shooting.
Once admitted to the game you will have a few seconds to find a place to start. Your laser will issue a series of count down beeps before buzzing the game has started. The games we played were all a free for all. So even if you had a group of friends as allies they could still score points from you.
Each group had approximately 30 people per game. It sounds like a lot until you put everyone in 10,500 sq feet with multiple levels. It is relatively easy to find yourself in an area without others and then you turn a corner and get blasted from multiple directions. The arena is dark with colored florescent lighting casting an eerie glow. There is also a fog machine to further enhance the arena.
You will spend 15 mins moving around the arena scoring points from others and losing points if you are their target. Your laser will flash and turn off when you've been hit. The body armor will also vibrate to further let you know. The equipment resets inside of 10 seconds giving you time to find a refuge before you can be targeted again.
At the end of the game you will return to the staging area and place the armor and laser back on the racks in the same manner. Place your right shoulder to the rack and lift the armor over your head onto the rack. You will then go back to the lobby area this time on the left hand side of the ticket booth having entered on the right hand side. There is a little TV screen that will rotate through the players in the game showing everyone how well you did. You will also get a paper scorecard from the game Marshall you can take home and show your friends. 🙂
If you are playing another game you will have 20 mins of rest before it's your turn to go again as they send in another group in between. This has multiple benefits. It gives you time to visit the bathroom, purchase a drink from the vending machines or simply rest. If you go for three games expect to be tired and possibly sweaty as the armor doesn't breath. It sticks to you.
We had a lot of fun and my more energetic son was ready for a fourth game.
Family Fun Facts
Hours: Varies. Full schedule at this link.