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August 30, 2011 > Set phasers for fun

Set phasers for fun

Zapping zombies and exotic villains on screen is exciting for many gamers, but the thrill of physically being part of the action, challenging physical skills, reflexes and mental agility in real time against real opponents is often missing. Game programmers frantically work to keep up with the demand for more realistic sensory challenges yet Laser Tag has been offering this experience for years at many locations around the Bay Area. Unfortunately, since the closure of Fremont's Q-Zar years ago, it has been absent in the Greater Tri-Cities until the opening of Laser Tagging, Inc. in Newark on August 13.

At Laser Tagging and Maze in Newark, competitors wearing infrared-sensitive vests, compete in arenas, scoring points by "tagging" other players or evading infrared-emitting devices in an intricate maze. With an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, local residents and owners Kevin Gill and Johny and Renu Singh think they have a winning combination for combatants of all ages who want to participate in a fun, high tech challenge. Although some players organize into teams, there is plenty of room for the solo combatant to challenge the course and participants as well.

Laser Tag began in 1979, with the popularity of Star Trek and release of toy "phasers" mimicking the all-purpose weapon, an icon of the series. Simulations of combat in a venue that removed the danger and pain of physical projectiles was immediately popular although the skill and agility required for tactical maneuvers and strategy remained. Recognizing the advantages of laser triggered targets and combat, the U.S. Army has employed this type of training since the late 70s. Civilian adaptations such as Laser Tagging, Inc. in Newark feature large dark multi-level rooms, swirling fog, music and walls lit by black lights. At minimal expense, simulated combat or maze challenges await.

A separate attraction challenges players to avoid laser beams that record any false steps that break its contact with opposite walls. In the maze challenge, green lasers radiate from the walls daring players to move through a tangled array amid distracting sights and sounds. Only those with the cunning and grace of Agent 007 or his counterparts in Mission Impossible will be able to navigate the intricate patterns without alerting a vigilant sentry system.

The staff at Laser Tagging, Inc. includes local students who will help newcomers to understand the basic rules of the game, help with equipment requirements, observe the playing fields to prevent unruly behavior and assure participants of a good time as a solo player, with their friends, family or for birthday or other group gatherings. Those with expertise may pick up a tip to earn a top score. Staff members include: Tuan Pham (Fremont), Carlos Moreno (Newark), Stephanie Navarro (Newark), Erika Tellefsen (Fremont), Taylor Presley (Newark), Katie Hernandez (Newark), Sidney Nickles IV (Newark), Brianna Contreras (Newark), Honey Kaur (Fremont) and Karima Osman (Hayward).

Laser Tagging, Inc.
5759 Stevenson Blvd., Newark
(510) 668-1200

Summer Hours:
Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - Sunday: 10 a.m. - midnight

School Year Hours:
Monday - Thursday: 3 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday: 3 p.m. - 12 midnight
Saturday/Sunday: 10 a.m. - 12 midnight

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