Okay, earlier this week, one of the laser-tag mailing lists I subscribe to got a rather unwelcome shock.
Photon was closing…before it opened….
For those of you who haven’t ever had the privilege, Photon is a non-flashlight form of laser tag, set in a fully built out field. It’s a complete package, equipment, sound, etc. And an absolute BLAST to play. I burned an incredible amount of money (and energy) there.
Sadly, the last true Photon center closed in Harvey, Illinois back in 1995. Yes, I was there. Yes, it bummed me fiercely. And, unfortunately, the rights to Photon were hopelessly tangled up, and spread out all over the place.
Anyhoo, flash-foward to last year. I started noticing activity on the Phazzar group on Yahoo again. Apparently someone, a guy by the name of Jim Strother, had spent most of the last 12 years acquiring EVERYTHING necessary to resurrect Photon again.
And, watching the activity in the group, and the photos going up of the slowly resolving field, I grew excited again. If you want, you can find pictures of the site up at http://www.photon-qei.com. The field is, for all intents and purposes, finished. All that was needed was some fine tuning of the field antennas and some work on the pods (the gun/chestpiece unit) themselves and he was ready to open.
Anyhoo, earlier this week, we got a letter from Jim stating that Photon would be closing before it’s opening day. Apparently there were some financial difficulties with the landlord, and Jim had been served an eviction notice. Bad scene all around. I’d been hoping to pay a visit to the new center as soon as time and money permitted. As were a lot of members of the mailing list.
At this point, it’s looking like the venture is unrecoverable, and while I don’t have all the facts in the case, it appears to be really shady on the part of the landlord.
So, as a sop to the rabid Photon junkies who’d been jonesing for a fix for thirteen years, Jim is throwing open the doors of Photon for one night and one night only.
And my mission, should I choose to accept it. Get my ass to Tulsa, Oklahoma and play Photon.
A couple e-mails, and ten hours on the road, and I’m here. Now all I need to do is get some shut-eye before the big event.