Tonight, as part of a forced-weekend-work-party, I went Laser Questing with coworkers. The Questing was actually part of the official Disasters 4 wrap party, a show that has been, for the last year and a half, the substance and spirit of my job. Phone calls with survivors, arguing with museums over photo rights, 3:30 AM trips to airports to catch the next flight to the nearest aiport to the next impossibly remote and broken-down community where, fifty years ago, the event of mass death is still reverberating. We go there to record the echoes. This has been my life, and now 5 episodes are over. Today, somewhere between the chocolate cookies in the Tiger's Den at Laser Quest and the last slice at Boston Pizza, the experience of those five episodes lifted from my shoulders, took flight over the hill, and the talons of Disasters 6 (another 5 eps) flapped down and took hold. Ouch.
Laser Quest was actually much more fun than I wanted it to be. Corny thematics, lousy music and forced good cheer aside, the game itself is actually really cool. It's all adrenaline and swivelling eyes, black lights and whirling red-and-green tracers, and of course the pencil-thin beams of laser light dancing everywhere. After a few minutes it really did feel like I was playing a first-person shooter with sweat on top, and not just walking around a warehouse absurdly suited with a stinky harness of rubber and velcro. I discovered that human opponents were, by and large, no smarter than computerized bots and certainly no faster (running was forbidden in Laser Quest, although after five minutes everyone was either crouching in a corner or running like hell). I also realized the joys of sniping from high ground.
The strangest moments occurred when I found myself utterly alone in the maze, turning and turning, backtracking and retracing, but never running into another player. I couldn't figure out where 24 other people could have disappeared to. Those were strangely calm but vertiginous moments, as I wandered around with a plastic laser gun, wondering if maybe I really was the only player in the game, that somehow I'd put my foot into a deserted section of the maze, and I'd be stranded inside Laser Quest forevermore. Then some fourteen year old kid calling himself Meatwave would casually pop round the corner and my harness would make a scale-descending dead Mario noise. Killed again, just like a video game.
Retracted on 2003-09-21::1:47 a.m.
parode - exode