Freelance writer, mum and lover of all things Melbourne :)
Published November 1st 2012
Be part of a real life video game
If you've ever wanted to live out your childhood fantasies based on playing computer games like 'Doom', or you're a regular player of more recent games like 'Call of Duty' or 'Battlefield' and want to see how you'd really cope in battle, or if you have no interest in such games and want to do something completely different for the night with a group of workmates or friends, you must try Tech Assaults Domination Tournament. at Northcote Indoor Sports Centre.
I wasn't completely sure about signing up for this, my only experience with laser tag was some totally dark maze at Timezone, at a young age - everybody shot at me at random and I ended up stepping out into the bright light of day wondering if it was really all that fun. Tech Assaults Laser Tag is NOT like this, this is the grown up version, as they say themselves; "this is not your space cadet pew pew".
You know from the minute you pick up your military style, heavy (for a girl!) weapons, this is serious. It's not too long before you're talking strategies and tactics for your team to have the edge. By round 2, my deceivingly innocent looking, usually mild-mannered accountant friend was calling everyone 'bitches' and wanting to 'kick some a**'.
Gingers Ninjas (my team of 5 bad a**es) took part in the first domination tournament. We firstly listened in to the briefing, (most which sadly went over my non-gamer head), had a beer (which made it all make a little more sense) then the tournament was 'game on'. We were in the second round, up against some stiff competition, playing against some more experienced teams, we put in our best effort but lost badly in our first round. Our only compensation being that the score was exactly 69.
As the night wore on we improved and some entertaining antics took place. Tournament participants learnt some harsh realities of laser tag war including;
It is funny and acceptable, at least to everyone watching, to dance in front of the other team when they're all 'dead' and can't shoot you. Casualties resulting from friendly fire, is a distinct possibility. Having a one on one shoot out may be a good game tactic, but is less so when you realise it's one of your team mates. There's nothing worse than realising you've been pressing the other teams colour the entire game - especially when that's why they won!
So good news - due to conquering the steep learning curve, our competitive natures and some sneaky weapons upgrades to even out the playing field, we ended up dominating many of the games and finished in 3rd place.
This was, in all seriousness, an awesome night out. It's a great recreational activity because you can forget everything else, the game takes over, all talk between rounds is of how to improve for the next or how the current game is going. It's an atmosphere of friendly competition as well, between games that is, on the field - it's war!
If you're up for the challenge, here's the low down:
There are a number of different scenarios Tech Assaults software can run, the aim of 'domination' is for territory control. Your team needs to capture and hold as many structures as possible, earning points as time goes on. In practical terms, nestled within the ruined battlefield (of inflatable structures) are laptops each team need to control, team members have to get to these and hit your team colour. For each laptop held your team receives 1 point per second.
It doesn't hurt like paintball (although your trigger finger and many other muscles might be sore the next day from running, ducking and diving). Have no doubt, this is physical, you'll need stamina to make it through the tournament.
Come dressed in comfortable footwear, and sports wear unless you want to be extra creative. If you come in team uniform capable of intimidating the opposition (ie. Fake beards, Rambo headbands, facepaint, co-ordinating outfits etc.) you'll get $50 off the team entry.
Note: black or camouflage works quite well for hiding as it gets darker (although it also helps to be an awesome Ninja!).
For your best chance in a tournament you'll need a team of 7 (5 players on the field at any one time with two subs). You'll also need a team name - a little better than Gingers Ninjas, like 'Dead Uncles' for example. Hopefully the names improve as the tournaments go on.
The tournaments consist of 6 teams and each will play of in a round robin format. You get 10 minutes per game, which is enough to get you into full game mode and then a break to catch your breath, in between it's entertaining to watch the other teams or use the opportunity to size up the competition.
This was the first tournament for Tech Assault and as passionate gamers, who are dedicated to making this the best experience possible, they are continuously improving their technology and game formats. They have made a list to make future tournaments even better.
Tournaments are currently being run monthly on Saturday evenings (6pm until 10pm), with the next tournament being held 1st December. The tournament night would be great for bucks (or hens) night or for team building/office party, or just a memorable night out with mates that's just different and loads of fun.
If you'd like to try out Tech Assaults laser tag at another time, or want a practice run before you enter the tournament format, or just need another laser tag hit after you catch the bug, they also run other private sessions every Saturday (book in advance). The private sessions would also be brilliant for team building with workmates or a bucks (or hens) night, or kids party (for over 10yo).
You can make an online booking with the Tech Assault team via their website or Contact them via their Facebook page to ask any questions, get some more info or let them know you're up for the tournament challenge - and tell them Ginger sent ya!
I highly recommend it, the best fun I've had in a long time!