Laser Mania Queensbury’s Scare Fest ‘not for faint-hearted’

BRADFORD’s “first” Scare Fest is “not for the faint of heart” and will bring the public to battle against a variety of creepy characters.

Everything at Laser Mania takes place in the legendary Black Dyke Mills in Queensbury, combining laser tag and anything horror related.

Laser Mania didn’t officially open until May and was born out of boredom during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

John Bates and his wife Jemma Bates already owned Hoverkart Mania – a go-kart track for children – one floor below Laser Mania.

That opened in November 2019, but the excitement was eased by the unforeseen pandemic that silenced the world for about a year and a half.

Fast forward to 2021 and Laser Mania was complete and T&A took a tour of the arena last Thursday to see what it was about and to catch up on the new “Scare Fest” event.

This latest project is unique to other laser tag arenas in that it moves away from a science fiction theme and focuses more on realism, according to Bates.

He said, “It’s a little different than your usual laser tag arena, it’s more of a Call of Duty inspired, modern, up-to-date facility.

“I think it appeals to all the kids who like their Call of Duty.

“We have modern weapons, we have a modern arena.

“It’s a lot of fun, it kept me busy.”

More than 90 percent of the arena was built by Mr. Bates himself.

The two self-made Gatling guns and a huge tank are particularly impressive.

The miniguns were made from pieces of pipe, while old barrels and recycled materials are strewn across the arena.

The players are divided into teams and briefed in an “Apache helicopter” before each game.

They are then given an interactive headband that flashes and vibrates when a player is hit, as well as a weapon from a selection of different weapons.

There are glocks, handguns, MP9s for younger kids (as they are easier to use), and the largest weapon of the range, an AR15, which has a red dot laser sight.

We tried the latter and you feel really immersed in the environment with realistic noises and a satisfactory click sequence when reloading.

There are also several game modes, from a simple deathmatch to a bomb mode to capture the flag.

Next Friday (October 29th) children and adults will have to make the most of everything when Laser Mania starts its first “Scare Fest” event in time for Halloween.

Mr. Bates said, to the best of his knowledge, this was the “first” event of its kind in Bradford.

He added, “We will have live actors with chainsaws and guns and they will be in the laser tag games.

“So not for the faint of heart.

“We’re looking for maybe 10 or 12 pluses to be supervised by an adult, and adults too, of course.

“So we’re looking forward to it.”

The latest addition to the Laser Mania Arena is a hospital tent with a body bag and severed limbs hanging from the roof.

These additions were made specifically for the event, as were a head on the arena tank and skulls scattered around the arena.

Mr. Bates said, “We have Dr. Death, Piggy, which some kids probably know from the apps – comes at you with a baseball bat.

“We have other actors too, a creepy little girl played by my daughter.

“So it should be pretty scary.”

Mr. Bates hopes to have a “Scare Fest” every month after the opening event next week.

He said he will continue to expand the arena as it develops.

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