By Kevin Haas
Rock River Current
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ROCKFORD — Laser tag has returned to a building where the live-action game was played for nearly three decades with updated technology to compliment an arena longtime players will recognize.
Sector 815, 293 Executive Parkway, opened last week after cleaning and refreshing the former Laser Quest space. Players no longer need to wear a bulky vest to compete. Now, you just carry your weapon and a headband, both which are equipped with sensors to recognize when you’ve been tagged.
Players face off in the former Laser Quest arena, a tangled maze with fluorescent colors that glow under blacklights. The front of the building even still has the Laser Quest sign, although that will change in the coming months.
“It’s the same arena that Laser Quest had. The same paintings and everything,” said Mike Greer, owner of Sector 815. “Your favorite hiding spot is still going to be there. You may even find some new hiding spots, you never know.”
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Greer also runs MindGames Escape Rooms, which has nine locations including one in Rockford at 3214 S. Alpine Road. He seized on an opportunity to get into the laser tag business because Laser Quest had largely left its space untouched when it closed.
Laser Quest operated for 27 years until it closed in September 2020. The company had initially shut down in April 2020 as part of coronavirus precautions, but five months later it said the closure would be permanent. Before Greer took over, there were still signs on the door that said it closed to help “flatten the curve,” a reference to the early COVID-related shutdowns.
The biggest difference between what you remember from Laser Quest and what you get at Sector 815 is the look and function of the weapons and the more objective-based games available such as capture the flag, domination and zombie infection.
Greer said his next step is to bring arcade games back to the site.
“It’s pretty awesome seeing people loving the new technology,” Greer said. “Now at this point its defining our games and getting some new games added, too.”
“It’s been a lot of fun seeing people enjoy it.”
Fast facts | Sector 815
Where: 293 Executive Parkway, Rockford
Hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday; noon to midnight Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight Saturday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday
On the web: sector815.com
This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas.