Laser Focus

The lights are dimmed. The Bond music is playing loudly in the background. You tip-toe as quietly as you can along the walls and peer around corners. The circles on your chest and back glow red and yellow. You hope you see someone before you’re seen. You spot another glowing circle of light and just as you aim you hear the “do-do-do-do-do” of your gun.

“Damn it! I’m coming for you, Ricochet!”

This is what happens when you’re laser tagging. For my last excursion, I grabbed three friends and headed about 50 minutes away to Downers Grove, IL to Laser Quest. For a single game, it’s $8.50 per person for nonmembers, $6.50 for members for 20 minutes of play. I know, right? That is an awesome deal.

Unfortunately for us, we did not call ahead to see what sort of availability they had and run into the problem of having to wait until the very end of the night to play. I highly recommend that you call ahead in order to ensure a lack of waiting. I learned this the hard way. However, it ended up working out great for us, but more on that later.

While you wait, you can play a number of arcade games, air hockey, fooseball or, if you’re feeling adventurous, a concrete version of Twister. Clearly, we chose that last option.

When it is your turn to play, you are allowed to pick your game name (mine being Alaska as a nod to the unbelievable work of John Green) and are given an activator for your gear. This is a good time to do some stretching.

You are then lead into the briefing room to be told the rules, how to use your gear and how to play.

As I said, we ended up getting to play the final game of the night. While this may seem terrible, it was actually totally fun. We ended up being the only four playing! Because we were such a small group, the worker allowed us to choose our music. Our choices were techno, Star Wars or Bond. Without hesitating, we all said, “Bond.”

When the alarm went off, each of us ducked off into separate directions. With there being so few of us in there, it was easy to walk around and not find anyone for a few minutes. By the same token, this made it so much more intense when you did find someone as it was now super competitive. Since we’re all adults here, there was a heavy amount of cursing going on.

The music was one of the best parts, I think. It really did make you feel like you were on a very serious mission and that mission was to annihilate your friends in the safest way possible. The room is lit with black lights, so I suggest that you not wear bright colors or white if you want to be successful. There is also a lot of moving around on the ground, on ramps and on platforms, so comfortable shoes are ideal.

Laser tag is a fun and cheap way to have a good time and basically get a work out in with your friends. While I very sadly came in last place amongst the four of us, I still had a great time and am very seriously excited for the next go around.

That’s right. You heard me, Ricochet. It’s on like Donkey Kong. I’m coming for you!



Dinner, A Movie, One Place, Oh My!

Ah, dinner and a movie. The perfect date night, right? You head to the theater and afterwards, you have a conversation starter. But what if you could skip the driving and parking and lapse between the two when you can just combine them?

That’s what I did when I headed out to Naperville, IL to Hollywood Palms Cinema. Well, it wasn’t exactly a night of romance since I was accompanied by these two…

..but I digress. Feeling the combined desire to both eat and watch a movie, I asked my sister, Kaitlin, and one of my best friends, Val, to join me. Luckily, they had the same feeling and we were good to go.

For a movie theater, tickets are reasonably priced. Movies are $6 before 5:30, $8 otherwise. 3D movies are $11. The best part? If you’re a college student, admission is only $3 with a valid ID on Wednesdays. I know, right? They’re just begging us to come on in.

Anyway, we got our tickets to Hotel Transylvania and made our way through the (oddly) jungle inspired lobby to get in line. If you’re a movie buff like myself, staring at the walls plastered with movie posters from the golden era all the way through today has you mesmerized. It actually helps pass the time while you wait to be let into your theater.

Once your theater is called, the usher will tell you which color theater to walk towards (ours being the Green Theater). Instead of stadium seating like any of us are used to, the theater is full of comfortable chairs and rows of tables. Each table has a menus waiting for you to peruse. The menu is actually one of my favorite parts of the experience. Every single item on the menu is a play on a movie or an actor or actress or director’s name. You almost can’t decide because you like the play on words so much.

As a self-respecting Tolkien fan, it was absolutely impossible for me not to order the Lord of the Onion Rings appetizer when the waitress came around prior to the single preview shown. It did feel pretty awesome to order it, too. We also shared some Oscar Fries (cheese fries) and Moe Sticks (mozzarella sticks). Since I am terrible at making a decision when it comes to names like these, Val and I decided to split the Kevin BLT (you just have to laugh at that) and the Chevy Cheeseburger. Kaitlin simply could not deny herself from eating the Chuck Norris Chicken. Kids these days, I tell you.

Since it was a Sunday, the two of us legal to drink alcohol made the conscious decision not to indulge ourselves, but don’t think that that means the drinks get left out of the name game. Tequila Mockingbird, Dirty Harry Martini and the Carrie Cosmopolitan are just some of your fun options. They also have great deals on drinks during the week.

Luckily for us, the waitress came back around at just the right time to ask us what we wanted for dessert. While I refrained as I was carrying a serious food baby by this time, Kaitlin ordered Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and Val ordered the Rascally Wabbit Carrot Cake just as the movie was hitting its emotional pinnacle. I swear, these animated features may not seem like it, but they can be emotional juggernauts. (Seriously, did anyone see Up?)

If you’re full but still have food left over, it’s the same as any restaurant. You can box it up and head out on your merry way.

It was a really fun experience to be able to sit in the movie theater and be able to enjoy dinner as well. The theater is spacious and you don’t feel like the waitress walking around or the people quietly chatting is bothersome. It isn’t something that I would recommend doing with every single movie that you see, but every once and awhile it’s nice.

The theater also hosts fun special events like advanced screenings or screenings with the actors from the film being shown. For information on those events, the food, the specials, what’s playing, directions and more, visit their website here.