Laser Tag Transformed After 17 Years

Creative Works, Inc. transforms a laser tag facility after their first job in 1997.
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Dec. 22, 2014 - PRLog -- This story begins 17 years ago when Jeff Schilling out of Indianapolis started a laser tag arena building company called Creative Works.  Having started another company with a partner that did similar work prior, Schilling embarked out on his own to create a different company and experience that would impact the next generation.  During one of the amusement industry’s tradeshows, the owner of the Hinkle Family Fun Center met with Schilling to talk about his idea of recreating an experience that would radiate the WOW Effect and tie into the historical impact of their state.

Schilling met with Gene Hinkle and his staff in Albuquerque, NM to review the intended location of the new laser tag attraction and sit down with his sons Doug and Brian to begin brainstorming about what could be done.  After several hours, the premise from the movie “Contact” that appeared in 1997 came to mind and became the foundation for the new experience Schilling would create over the next 6 months for Hinkle.  A special trip to the Very Large Array (VLA) in Albuquerque was arranged to see the museum and take pictures and measurements first hand to gain a deeper understanding of the surroundings and the elements that would eventually be included within Hinkle’s laser tag attraction.  “Since elements from the movie were filmed here, I wanted to try and capture the essence of the site as we entered the design phase.  Additionally, my team spent several weeks reviewing the works of Carl Sagan – the author and producer of the film, to ensure we had a better picture as we moved forward.”

As the assistant director of the Holcomb Observatory and Planetarium on the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, Schilling brought to bear his knowledge and exposure of the night sky to the project as well from a design perspective.  “Having graduated only 3 short years before I started this project, I got to take some of my academia learned from Butler and apply it towards the overall essence of this project.  It was a great thrill of mine to actually visit the VLA while in Albuquerque since I had studied some of the research data that was compiled from astrophysicists I had followed while in college.”

While each project Creative Works undertakes is filled with unique variables and requirements like this one, there is a common denominator that runs through them all.  “We design our facilities to last,” commented Schilling.  Most laser tag attractions will last from 7 to 10 years based on historical data with some achieving more and a few less.  “I knew coming out of the gate with my first laser tag project under the Creative Works banner, I had to do it right from the start – no exceptions,” commented Schilling.  “After multiple revisions of several iterations, we came up with an arena style and look that we were confident could last the industry average and possibly exceed it.”

Well…seventeen years later (twice the industry average), the Hinkle family came back and finally asked them to renovate the arena to prepare it for the next generation of players.  An entourage flew from New Mexico to Indiana to visit Creative Works’ design and production facilities and see the other attractions and products now manufactured by the company.  One of those was their Lazer Frenzy laser maze that the Hinkle’s purchased a few years back which has proven to be a big winner in their 50 piece arcade room.

At the conclusion of that meeting, the design purpose was to take what they had and transform it into a futuristic “Halo” like world with new props and effects that was scalable for continued change into the next decade.  “With the top grossing games and movies in the market having similar theme elements like this game and others, we went to work building the new laser tag arena.  Along the way my project management team answered questions of the contractors, architects, building inspector and fire marshal to ensure the facility was ready and up to code in preparation for the new look and feel."

Within a week’s time of arriving on site, Schilling’s team transformed the old facility into something new again, and laid the foundation for another decade of great laser tag returns for the Hinkle Family Fun Center.

“Jeff’s team was top-notch from start to finish.  He went above and beyond.  Our thanks goes out to his team for making our dream come true again,” said Doug Hinkle.  To learn more about the Hinkle Family Fun Center visit:

If your family entertainment center is in need of a renovation or upgrades, give Creative Works, Inc. a call (317) 834-4770. We would love to help you bring the Wow Effect to your facility!

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Tags:Laser Tag, Iaapa, Mini Golf, Creative Works, theWOWeffect
Industry:Entertainment, Games
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