Starkville has a lot to do at night: drop by the clock museum; go to a sports game of your choice for whatever season it is; go visit one of the parks around town; find a good local restaurant or bar and dig in. There are always things to do, as befits a college town, but there is one niche event missing: cross-generational entertainment.

There are some things you just cannot do above or below a certain age. Starkville is full up on those, but that green zone in the middle where both kids and adults can enjoy something? Barren.

There is a bowling/arcade over in Columbus, sure, but a thirty minute drive to roll a ball down an alley and heckle your friends over it is not worth it. In the same building, however, is something that might be worth it. The holy grail of fun activities that shocks me every time I remember its absence in Starkville: laser tag.

Could there possibly be a more default staple of free-time activity than that? The center of birthday parties, gimmicky one-off celebrations and cathartic, non-violent conflict resolutions galore. You can wander in off the street to play and pay by the game, unlike paintball’s time and money investment.  

Imagine finishing a day of classes, grabbing some drinks on University Drive and then walking up the road to yuck it up, shooting people with laser guns.

It can even be good for you because you are burning off some calories hurtling around a neon arena. Wintrust Sports Complex actually attributes several health benefits to playing laser tag, including heart strength, better sleep through energy burning and improved motor skills. Of course, the Wintrust Sports Complex of Bedford, Illinois, is trying to sell laser tag tickets, so check with your primary care provider before canceling your gym membership and going full lasers based fitness.

There could even be a designated Mississippi State University laser tag tournament at the end of semesters to help burn off the stress of taking finals and the lethargy of being locked away in the library to prepare for all those hours. There is no doubt that finding a spare 3,000 square feet of commercial real estate and establishing a laser tag business inside it would be difficult and includes costs that have prevented it from happening so far, but I hope it happens at some point.

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