Real life first person shooters with laser tag in Tukwila

Laser Tag graphic - colored - cropped

Being the type of person who prefers to be out and about instead of staying at home, the hunt to find new and exciting things to do is never-ending. A few months ago, I came across a place called Virtual Sports in Tukwila. Recently, I finally made an effort see what this place was all about.

Virtual Sports is described as “the next generation of laser tag” on the company’s website, further explained by their slogan, which is “Live Your Games.” Virtual Sports targets the interest of those who are fans of games like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike.

Upon entering Virtual Sports, which is located near the Southcenter mall in more of the industrial area, anybody will either be immediately excited or overwhelmed. The massive open floor plan is bathed in dim blue and green lights accompanied with loud dubstep over the warehouse’s many speakers. After checking into one of the many gaming computers provided, customers can explore any of the amenities the warehouse provides before gameplay.

There are multiple arcade games available to play, for a fee, of course, as well as an entertainment center with leather couches. The entertainment center is sort of pointless, as the amount of people in the room and the loud music do not make for a quiet place to sit and watch television.

In addition to these areas, Virtual Sports also has quite a few seating areas, a small merch store, and of course, a bar. The bar only sells beer, so no need to worry about anybody getting too hammered off of the hard stuff.

Past the bar and the seating areas is where the real fun begins, the arena. Those waiting for their game time are allowed to watch the control center’s many screens that show a  live feed of what’s going on inside of the arena. After games are over, waves of people run out excited to see their score broadcasted on the display screen above the control center.
The one complaint I have about Virtual Sports has to do with the time management. My reservation time was for 9 p.m. but my group didn’t start playing until 10 p.m. After making a comment about it, a regular customer of Virtual Sports’ replied, “It’s like this every time.”

Late reservations aside, the game still proved to be extremely fun. For 30 minutes before gameplay, everybody gets a briefing session on how to play the game, how to use the guns, and how not to get kicked out of the facility. At the end, everybody is provided with a vest and a headband, each riddled with sensors used for determining where you get hit during gameplay.
There is the Alpha team which wears camouflage gear and the Bravo team which wears all black gear.

During the 30 minutes of gameplay provided, there are two game styles that are played. Domination is a capture-the-flag of sorts, where players have to kill, avoid being killed, and take over the five probes that are placed on the opposite team’s side by shooting it and turning it their team’s color. Deathmatch is pretty standard, kill the other team and try to stay alive.
Overall, Virtual Sports is a thrilling experience that’s worth trying once. However, if the company expects to create a pool of regular customers, they should probably consider lowering the price. $25 for 30 minutes of gameplay seems kind of lame. Any additional session after the first is $15. All of that being said, the high price and the lack of time management skills possessed by Virtual Sports didn’t completely dissuade me from planning to come back in the near future.