A couple of years back, my partner wanted to play a specialized form of laser tag for his birthday: Blazer Tag. To say, laser tag while wearing blazers.
So we got all decked out with a couple of friends (each of us wearing a blazer) and went to play laser tag at a local fun center.
Allow me to say I had never played laser tag before, but I felt fairly confident in my theoretical skills. I also felt that somehow, my video game background would come into play.
We got all suited up (the gear was heavier than I’d expected), watched the requisite video (don’t run, we know), and stood at the ready to take our positions inside the “arena.”
For what it’s worth, wearing a laser tag getup over a blazer is hot and uncomfortable.
We were figuring this out as we took stock of the other players in line. There were a handful of others around our age (30s), and then a lot of pre-teen kids. Whenever I am around kids, I try to hold in my inevitable swearing, so I took note of them, and tried to remind myself not to produce loud obscenities when or if I was “hit.”
As soon as the doors opened, I ran. I know, you’re not supposed to. But I totally did, and I own it.
I mapped out the place and started thinking about it like a video game. Where could I take cover? Where could I pop out and surprise the other team? How did the mechanics of the actual guns work? What was the hit distance? I started figuring all those things out and…I don’t know how to say this without just saying it…but I started to wreck on those kids.
It wasn’t very sporting of me, but sheesh if they weren’t good at using cover. Of course I was going to laser them. That was the point.
After a few minutes they figured out it was me causing them so much of an issue, and they started to pursue me en masse. It was at that point that a more understanding person would have just shook it off.
That isn’t what I did.
I found places to hide and really went after them. After a minute or so, I heard one of them refer to me as a b*tch.
I don’t take kindly to people being called names, and I’m no exception.
So I chased the kid and kept scoring “hits” on him while he ran away.
Not my proudest moment.
He eventually stopped and said something like, “So what are you going to do?” And I said something to the effect of, “You know what? I’m not really sure. But it’s not polite to call people names.”
I realize the hilarity of my telling him what was and wasn’t polite after I, a grown adult, had just chased him across a neon room in full view of other adults and children.
After that, I lost my interest in scoring as high as I could. A friend and I stood back to back on a platform, held our laser guns gangster-style, and just shot all over the room. I seriously doubt we made a single hit, but it was completely worth it. Those kids went after me/us, and I just didn’t care anymore.
After the session was over, one of the kid’s friends came up to me and apologized for what his friend had said. I thanked him, because it was really kind and unexpected for him to seek me out and apologize, and I asked him to tell his friend I was sorry for chasing him like a weirdo. He laughed and said he would.
I’m not sure how likely I would ever be to play blazer (or laser) tag again. It brought out a competitive side to me that I hadn’t expected, and, along with it, a playstyle I wasn’t proud of.
It did, however, show me that I can use tactics learned in video games to my advantage in “reality,” and that’s pretty neat.
Has there ever been a real-world application of skill you learned from a video game? If so, what was it? How did it work out?