In Places Of Guangdong – Laser Wars, Edward O’Neill visits Dongcheng’s newest laser tag place, which also boasts VR games. Laser tag, paintballs just as fun but less painful brother, is finally available to play in Dongcheng. Edward O’Neill goes on a long winded way around explaining why Laser Wars definitely makes Dongguan as a city about 10% more fun.
I’ll never forget The Massacre Of Hollywood Bowl. It was my 11th birthday and I had my party at the Laser Quest at my local bowling alley. In a sly bid to make sure I won, I had picked the sides so that my team had all my sporty, bigger friends and the other team made up the quieter, smaller kids.
I had made a grave mistake. Unbeknownst to me, some of the opposition had played laser tag before, a lot; like they had membership cards, a lot. They knew where to hide, used tactics and, most importantly, were able to shoot straight. My team, however, seemed to have graduated from The Leroy Jenkins School Of Warfare. I had completely underestimated my opponents and put way too much faith in my teammates.
We were lambs to slaughter and at the end I didn’t dare look at my scorecard. I basically ended up feeling like Nelson Muntz at the hands of Bart Simpson at the end of Bart The General.
You get the thrill and excitement of paintball, but you don’t end up black and blue and covered in mud.
Unfortunately, shortly after The Great Battle Of Hollywood Bowl, Laser Quest closed down. There was no other laser tag around and so my friends and I turned our attention to the next best thing, paintball.
I’ll always remember during a game of Capture The Flag. The woods we were playing in were small and it was turning into a paint bath. Trying to avoid being pelted, I had skirted around the side of the woods where I found a steward stood beside a river watching the game. It gave me an idea. What if I swam through the river, around the enemy and took their flag from behind?
I asked the steward if I was able to do it. He hesitated before saying yes and gave me the kind of look that told me he couldn’t make up his mind if I was brilliant or just outright crazy. I slipped into the river and the water came up above my waist. As I waded through the river and slipped past the enemy undetected, I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit like John Rambo in First Blood.
I crawled out of the water behind the enemy’s base. From such close range that even I couldn’t miss, I took out the two guards, swiped the flag and galloped through the woods at a pace that belied my lanky, uncoordinated legs. The enemy was in complete disarray and I was able to take out another two before they realized what was going on.
I made it all the way back to our base and just as I was about to cross the line I was shot, by my own teammate. After a moment’s confusion another teammate picked up the flag to win the game, and despite the way it ended, I still consider that to be my Rambo moment.
For that one moment I felt like John Rambo, however, there are countless memories of feeling like Sergeant Elias in Platoon; on my knees, in the mud, with my arms raised in the air as I am pelted mercilessly by the enemy. Every time I went paintballing, I came back covered in bruises looking like I had spent the night at Fight Club. I really like paintball, but I like not getting hurt more.
Which is why laser tag is perfect. You get the thrill and excitement of paintball, but you don’t end up black and blue and covered in mud. Unless, of course, you are into that kind of thing.
It’s rare to come across laser tag these days. Especially in Dongguan. So I was forgiven for getting so excited when I spotted a billboard when I was driving past Dynamall that read Laser Wars. Laser? Wars? That can mean only one thing, surely?
I’ve been hurt by misleading business names in China before. Yes, Taco Cheers House, I’m looking at you. No tacos, no beer. Just strange, sweet bread with a surprise hotdog in the middle. So I approached Laser Wars with caution. I wasn’t about to be hurt again. “Fool me once, shame on- shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again,” as George W. Bush once famously said.
As it turns out, Dubya and I needn’t have worried about a thing. Laser Wars was everything that my 11 year old self had secretly hoped for and then some.
The interior looks like the set from some nineties sci-fi show or straight to video movie, and I mean that in the best possible way. The retro-futuristic feel really gets you in the mood for some laser tag. From the outside, you would suspect Laser Wars not to be the biggest laser tag, but hidden behind the Star Trek style entrance is one of the largest playing areas I’ve come across.
The layout really suited a large team game. The expansive arena created a real battleground that was there to be won or lost while the forts at either end provided for the camper that exists inside all of us but we are too ashamed to admit to. The team match was great fun. The open plan allowed us to play our own way and it was fascinating to see the tactics, or lack of tactics, everyone employed.
My scores may have been more like a misfiring stormtrooper than a force wielding jedi, but Laser Wars is definitely more The Empire Strikes Back than The Phantom Menace.
The second game we split up into pairs of two. I teamed up with my friend, Barry. A man of god, which was convenient, as we were going to need him on our side if we had any chance of winning. We also changed the laser gun settings to one shot kill, and that combined with the smaller teams, resulted in a frenzied twelve minutes that can only be compared to playing Call Of Duty online with large amounts of lag, but less teabagging. Although having said that, some of the players did disappear for large stretches of the battle.
The game modes and gun settings really do make for varied game play, which bodes well for replay value. There were plenty of other variations to try, but after running like headless chickens armed with laser guns, we had enough for one evening.
If you are waiting for a game of laser tag, then there are plenty of things to keep you occupied in the meantime. There is ping pong, a pool table, and they even have two VR rooms with a full range of the latest games. If you don’t speak Chinese then don’t worry. The owners, who are there most of the time, speak fluent English and all the staff have been trained to welcome foreign customers.
My scores may have been more like a misfiring stormtrooper than a force wielding jedi, but Laser Wars is definitely more The Empire Strikes Back than The Phantom Menace. If you are in the mood for a bit of excitement and adventure then head to Laser Wars. It’s great for birthdays with friends or even team building for companies.
Address: 东城区乌石岗海霞大厦6楼 (6th floor, Haixia Building, Wushigang, Dongcheng, Dongguan) – Close to Dongcheng’s Dyna Mall.
Telephone number: 22105016