There used to be a laser tag place in the city called Zone 3. Back in the late 90s and early 00’s they would run Midnight To Dawn sessions. All night, unlimited games until the sun rose, Prodigy, Orbital and The Shamen blasting, plus it was also the only place here you could buy Jolt Cola. Basically it was Hackers vibe with laser guns.

A bunch of regulars to these events and the pro league players would come to know the place inside out, every hidey hole, every sniping nest, every base weakness and common travelled path’s choke point. Some of those 3am caffeine rush games became epic for their hard fought battles or complete and utter rout of a team. Yellow base was always the worst and would be a crowning achievement if you chose that team and came out victorious.

At the end of every game you would come out, hang up your game vest and gun and head out to the common room to shit talk, refuel of Jolt and fries, and wait for the ancient but reliable as hell for matrix printer to spit out every players score card. The pros would scan their ibutton fobs used for league membership on the Wyse terminal to check their stats changes. Either way the shit talking increased as we would find out who shot who, especially if it was your own team mates.

At some point during the night the siren call of “MACCAS RUN!” Would ring out and people would negotiate with those going to bring them back food, eventually resulting in 10 people piling into a compact car to go through the nearby 24 hours drive through. The rest would play on until a game would end and you would come out to find a table piled with burgers, fries, sundaes, and drinks. It was bedlam.

Eventually, the sun would rise, and it was kick out time. A gang of bleary eyed nerds would wander out the door, sore, tired, crashing from sugar, caffeine and adrenaline highs. One hand a half drank, warm, Jolt, other hand a bundle of fanfold paper with all our game stats. We were TOTALLY gonna keep those. Back into our car that hopefully hadn’t been ticketed or towed in the middle of the night. Back home after dropping friends who we gave a ride to home. Slept the day away.

Those sure were some goddamn days.