Much like every CAB event, no matter how extravagant or purely dull it may sound, you never know what you might get. When I heard that the highly-intense and competitive pastime of laser tag was coming to UNC Charlotte, I was of course skeptical at first. I questioned who might show up, what the event might entail and to what lengths the Campus Activities Board would go to offer students a fun-filled Saturday night. Those questions reeled in my mind as I made my way to the Popp Martin Student Union on a rather windy night on Feb. 25th, 2017.
As I’ve heard countless times by a majority of students who attend CAB events, the number one thing that typically elevates the experience from a mundane Saturday night to one of the best nights of your life is having a few friends by your side. Unfortunately for me, as I strolled into the Union that night, my sides were scarce of any company. That, however, didn’t stop me from enjoying an intriguing evening of laser tag.
Quickly latching onto a group of students as our game of laser tag was set to begun, I mingled meagerly as we awaited the coveted gates of the labyrinth to open. Set to a rather strict time slot — 12 players entering, with a mere 20 minutes to play — I eagerly awaited to see what extravagant battleground might lay beyond the doors.
As I mentioned before, with every CAB event, no matter how highly-anticipated it may look, you never know what you might get. Dubbed the “Laser Tag Labyrinth,” I had imagined in my mind a cornucopia of towering walls, a multi-layered realm of pitch-black and strobe light, a maze of challenges and triumphs. What I got, however, was far more lackluster. While the room breathed with space, and was successfully engulfed in a thick layer of darkness as to add to the atmosphere, the word “labyrinth” was quickly degraded to a cheap playground of little suspense or variety.
Acquiring our weaponry from a table at the rear of the room, I observed my laser gun as the staff relayed the rules of the game. A rather elegant mix between the articulation of a paintball gun, and the low-end detail of a dollar-store toy, I found that the weapon, the one thing that stood between life and death in this game, was one of the more appealing elements that I picked up from the experience. Loading my arsenal of digital ammo and securing myself behind a wooden crate, I counted down as the battle was set to start.
With the first round of the game giving way to a fierce battle as the two sides blasted their enemies from across the room, the true battle was found in the final round, as the room echoed with a single announcement: “Every man for himself!” A free-for-all of digital firefights ignited as players ran around the room, sneaking up on foes and backstabbing former allies. Keeping to my own for the majority of the game, as I struggled to take out as many players as I could before being countlessly terminated, the game managed to keep me on my toes for a matter of minutes before the clock ran out.
While CAB’s latest on-campus event might not have been entirely what I pictured, Laser Tag Labyrinth is surely more enjoyable if you have a good friend or two by your side. While its atmosphere may have lacked a layer of excitement and suspense, the event did offer students a decent break from their academic life in order to bask in some good-old-fashioned shoot-em-up fun.
Interested in attending the next CAB event? Check out all the upcoming events here: https://cab.uncc.edu