Victoria's first laser tag arena opens (video)
Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 25, 2013 at 2:25 a.m.
Connor Scott, 9, stands in the vesting room of Laser World, eager to strap on a charcoal vest and dive into the 2,000-square-foot, three-tiered arena.
In the fluorescent purple lighting, Connor's neon green birthday boy T-shirt illuminated under his vest, which blinked with blue flashing lights from his shoulder to waist.
Holding a laser gun in one hand, Connor prepares for battle.
The moment the doors open, he runs onto the first ramp, climbing higher with each hurried step as haunting trills echo through the loudspeaker.
"I was trying to defeat the other team, but I lost both games," said Connor, the first Victoria child to host a birthday party at Laser World. "This is the best I've played."
Laser World hosted a grand opening Thursday night, and Connor and his family were first in line for the action.
"It's an awesome place, and it's so easy to get ready for the party. They give you everything you need, but you need to bring a camera, maybe," Connor said.
Connor's father, Kyle Scott, 36, said his family was thrilled to learn a laser tag arena was opening in Victoria.
They've traveled many times to Austin and Pearland for laser tag, and now they don't have to, he said.
"It's wonderful. Compared to the other cities, this laser tag arena is much better," Scott said.
In addition to the multi-tiered laser tag arena, Laser World shows a collection of 4-D, five-minute movies with interactive chairs that blow mist and simulate the movement of the screen.
"There's one with a roller coaster that actually feels like you're on a roller coaster," said Irma Fernandez-Brand, Laser World co-owner.
Brand and her husband, Dr. Jim Brand, partnered with Dr. Dante Garza more than two years ago to purchase the building on East Larkspur Lane, formerly Celebration Church.
Each of them parents and eager to deliver a safe and family-friendly activity for the children of Victoria, they decided to invest in a laser tag arena.
After construction and remodeling costs, arcade and laser tag equipment purchases, Garza said they've put more than $2 million into the venture.
"We didn't really do it for the money," said Garza, who was still wearing a forehead flashlight installing last minute low-voltage electrical systems. "We hope it's a success and we pay back the loans, but mostly we just wanted our kids to have something fun to do."
And individuals can have just as much fun as those who attend in large groups.
Olivia Ramirez, 33, and Miranda Perez, 20, were part of a party of 10 that chose to visit Laser World on opening night.
Both of the women brought their kids, but rather than sitting in the observation deck - a hidden room where parents can watch their children play laser tag - Perez and Ramirez vested up and entered the ring.
"I was hiding a lot in the corner. I knew if I hid from people there was no way for them to get me. But I was wrong; they got me," said Ramirez, giggling.
Ramirez and Perez said they were the first group to show up at the front door. They wanted to be in the first official game Laser World would put on.
"When we came in, it was amazing. It's the most beautiful thing for the kids, and we will definitely be back," Perez said.
Connor, too, said he will also be back.
"I'm going to ask them if we can come again and again," Connor said.
Laughing, his father said, "He won't have to beg too hard."