By: Bernard Chen|
25 Jan 2018
17 November 2017 marked the day we all had a blast… quite literally. We had left the office early to engage in a spartan event of sweat, gunfire, and utter destruction of muscles.
We found ourselves barricaded near a multipurpose hall at East Coast Park, facilitated by a team of lanky instructors who knew we didn’t know what we were getting into. The entire arena was fortified by steely picket fences and peppered with inflatable structures – meant to form an obstacle circuit for running around and under.
The Verz Design team had been split into 3 combat teams in order for us to make the others crash and burn with plastic laser guns and sensory blades of death. One game consisted of 2 opposing teams, with one team being switched out every interval. Each team was made up of 7 – 8 people, more or less balanced with the gung-ho chiongsters (Russell, yes, you) and the lightweight hit-and-run specialists. *cough* Katrina *cough*
Our teams were differentiated by 3 different colours, so we could reduce the amount of friendly fire as much as possible. The pistols had the widest area of effect range and we had to be careful about our line of fire.
We also had to each sling a belt – worn like a sash – over our shoulders. It was a kind of laser sensor which picked up and counted the number of shots received from anyone wielding a laser weapon.
There were two varieties of Laser Tag we played, switching between teams in alternate matches.
1) Both teams would target the opposing team members in an all-out bombardment. The team which had taken the least number of shots would be the winner.
2) We had to pick 2 VIPs among each team, with the mission of protecting them at the cost of our virtual lives. Regardless of how many shots we received, we only needed to keep the hit rates low on our VIPs to win.
This made for an extraordinary mental game of strategies, since there were no holds barred. Brilliant military tacticians were suddenly sprouting from thin air.
One team had one VIP with two belts; another had decoys darting back and forth, with our Sales Director trying to feign the play with a few actors; a couple of matches saw teams leaving the VIP selection to the instructors, so no one knew whom to attack and the psychological pressure was eliminated.
The activity was so thrilling and spontaneous that we didn’t care whom we shot or sliced, or stabbed. Guns became swords, sensors were hidden under armpits, and tall people just kept their sensors overhead while grabbing their opponents’ weapons. Whether the opponents are your company directors or your colleagues, laser tag doesn’t discriminate.
We got to see different sides of everyone during the games. That was also when we realised that our IT personnel, web developers, etc., are more than just “keyboard warriors”. The mild-mannered Waseem went Rambo with his action camera strapped to his head and two guns seemingly wired to his hands.
Helen, who is usually a soft-spoken lady, was so hungry for shots, she had everyone on the ropes – chasing, pouncing and tugging her opponents’ clothes like a ravaging tigress.
During the height of excitement in one the matches, Nick sustained a fall (or was he accidentally shoved?), crashing into one of the inflatable obstacles. Fortunately, with his feline reflexes, his fall was cushioned. We saw both a spark of sportsmanship and a crackle of tension as opposing team’s Waseem pulled him up. Though physically unscathed, Nick appeared rather indignant when asked about it later!
When I was VIP, I attempted to go with the shoot-and-dash poker face I had been trying to build up in the previous matches. For some reason, Waseem, in all his Rambo mania, saw through my guise and became a human siren that echoed my name. Igen started to tailgate my trails and eventually, I got so tired that we started strolling and talking while he shot at me.
Every match was as intense as it was explosive. We were all undeniably exhausted and sweating buckets throughout, as we half-decided whether we wanted to just throw the match and sink our lips into some cold beer!
Special thanks to Irene, Waseem and the other self-appointed photographers for recording the whole frenzy!