PARKERSBURG - Laser Tag and Miniature Golf fans in the Mid-Ohio Valley have a new place to go.
Funderdome Laser Tag and Indoor Golf at 113 Ann St. opened its doors Sept. 22 and plans to hold its grand opening today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The opening of Funderdome brings the first-ever 3-D laser tag arena in West Virginia in an industry that has seen rapid growth in recent years, said Grant Fischer, managing partner. Although there are other laser tag facilities in West Virginia, none have the 3-D art this one has, he added.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Grant Fischer stands in what will be one of the sections of the laser tag facility at the Funderdome in Parkersburg.
''Laser tag is the main focus of the new business, which is why a brand new and larger laser tag arena was built when the business changed," Fischer said. "All of the professional arenas are built in one large room instead of a sequence of rooms like the previous business had set up.
''In order to create an arena of this magnitude, we had to use the only space that had this potential."
The site of this facility was previously home to an arcade with games, an inflatable and laser tag. Fischer said the new facility was completely different in that they aren't offering inflatables or an arcade at this time, but plans are in place to eventually have an arcade.
''Laser tag is and always will be our focus,'' he said. ''That is why we built the arena in the largest room where they had the arcade and inflatables instead of the small space where the laser tag was originally located.''
The space allowed them to have a bigger main arena
''I was a fan of the previous business but knew it could have a lot more potential if there was more of a focus on one activity instead of several and laser tag always seemed busy and was our favorite thing to do indoors for fun,'' Fischer said. I also have seen some really neat places and wanted to attempt my own.''
The arena is complete with 3D props, such as large gears, steel beams, radioactive barrels and more. The game can be played in team, team-base and free-for-all settings.
"It is like its own world and a truly unique experience," Fischer said. "The days of having a few walls and some neon paint throw up are over. This is how most of the newer arenas are being built in order to create a whole new reality just like a video game will do.
''Only in this video game, you are actually inside the game. And to answer a question we always get, 'no,' it does not hurt. The laser that emits from the laser gun is a light beam similar to a laser pointer."
Each player suits up with a vest and the laser gun is connected directly to the vest. Each vest has several LED colored lights that light up during the game so players know which team they are on and where to aim. The system is a radio frequency system, featuring real-time scoring that is displayed throughout the game on each player's vest. To complete the vest, each contains speakers on the shoulders that relay messages to players to let them know when they have been shot, knocked into stun mode or have successfully tagged another player.
The laser tag experience comes full circle with a built-in sound system that announces when a team takes the lead, it's a tie or close game, when a team is given a power upgrade and more.
In addition to laser tag, Funderdome also features indoor miniature golf.
"We have made some changes already, and plan to do a full makeover of the course now that we have completed the laser tag phase,'' Fischer said. ''We hope to have it completed by winter along with more and larger party rooms and a common area with billiards, shuffleboard, and even a space to have bands play after hours on a weekly basis."