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Friday August 1, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday August 1, 2014 MYT 9:44:17 AM
by lee mei li AND gayathri nair
Loads of exciting activities for families to try out.
Busy schedules, school activities, homework and other daily routines are making it more difficult for families to spend quality time together these days.
However, many families are still determined to nurture close ties with the clan. Instead of taking the kids to see a movie or arranging a rendezvous at the mall, families these days are seeking challenges and wanting more out of their weekends.
There are some new exciting activities that offer mum, dad, kids, cousins and the entire gang the chance to connect, stay in touch and most importantly, have loads of fun hanging out with each other.
Siblings Wendy, 18 and Eugene Wong, 22 have always enjoyed playing video games that involve strategising and shooting their enemies. Therefore, when Wendy started working part-time at the Galactic Laser tag centre in Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur, she invited her brother to try the game out.
“I figured it would be the perfect weekend activity for my brother and I, in addition to releasing some work stress,” shares Wendy.
Players put on a special armour and are equipped with guns that shoot infrared laser beams. The objective of the game is to shoot targets and certain objects to accumulate points.
“What’s great about laser tag is that it can be played in a group or individually. So if you feel like going in there and just shooting at stuff, you can play a single-player-game, just like the video games,” shares Eugene.
However, the siblings much prefer playing in groups and therefore often invite their friends.
“We usually invite our friends to come play, so we can form teams. It’s a lot more fun when you’re in ‘battle’ with other teams.” explains Wendy.
Their friends – sisters Charmaine, 20 and Charlotte Kok, 18 and siblings Mohamad Hazwan Shah, 23 and Fazlin Farhanah, 15 – often play together.
For the Kok sisters, they find it interesting going into the gaming maze and plotting their moves against their ‘enemies’.
“Charmaine and I always have each other’s back. Even though it is dark inside the arena, we have a secret word that we scream out to tell each other of our presence and to warn of danger,” explains Charlotte.
As for Mohamad Hazwan and his sister, the thrill of competing with each other is what makes the game interesting.
“Inside the maze, there are certain objects you shoot at to collect points. For instance, if you shoot and kill the electronic snake, you gain 5000 extra points,” Hazwan elaborates.
According to Galactic Laser’s assistant manager, marketing and events, Fraser Tan, since the centre in Mid Valley Megamall opened in December 2010, the laser tag arena has been attracting many families.
“I’ve seen families battling it out against each other and it amuses me to see how much fun they have comparing each other’s scores and competing with one another.
“It’s nice to see how the game brings families together,” adds Tan, who jokes that shooting at each other can get addictive too.
Where: T-012A, 3rd Floor, North Court, Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur and LG3.06 Sunway Pyramid Mall, 3, Jalan PJS11/15, Bandar Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Price: A mission costs RM25 (Saturday, Sunday and public holidays); RM20 (Monday-Friday)
More info: www.galacticlaser.com
Did you know?
The game play for laser tag is based on the outdoor game, paintball. However, unlike paintball, laser tag is played indoors, is painless and does not put a player out of the game, despite being shot by an opponent.
Picture “flying” around on a broomstick while trying to get a ball through hoops raised up high in the air. If that sounds a lot like a scene from Harry Potter, your are not far off the mark. The Harry Potter-inspired quidditch game was introduced here over a year ago by public relations consultant Charmaine Goh and writer Andrew Kasimir who learned of the sport while studying in Australia.
Adapted in 2005 by students at Middlebury College in Vermont, United States, the sport of ground quidditch has since spread to 25 countries and has over 700 teams, mainly based at colleges and universities.
The Klang Valley-based “muggle” quidditch team calls themselves the Damansara Dementors, and welcomes families with older children or anyone with a love for J.K. Rowling’s fantastical book series to join in a game or two on alternate Sundays, usually held at the Central Park in Bandar Utama, Selangor.
How it works: the players are split into two teams of seven each. There are three goals at the end of each field that are protected by a “keeper”.
Each team has three chasers who try to get a “quaffle” ball in their opponent’s goals. Meanwhile, two “beaters” use balls called “bludgers” to hit the other team’s players to knock them out and prevent them from scoring. The “seekers” on each team try to catch the “snitch”, a neutral player who runs with a ball tucked into his waistband.
“Apart from the flying bit, everything else is pretty much as you know it from Harry Potter,” says editorial assistant Andrea Tim, 24, who is a loyal supporter of quidditch along with her sister Ashley, 21.
The sisters have been at the sport for over a year now and seem to excel whenever they’re on the same team, Ashley, a student, reveals.
“I think it’s a sibling thing. We are constantly shouting during the game and when Andrea’s on my team, we don’t have to say a lot to know what the other means,” she adds.
“It may sound like only nerds and geeks are into quidditch, but the game is in fact quite tough and very competitive. It has elements of dodgeball and basketball and you have to run around a lot. It can also get quite rough, but nothing the girls can’t handle,” Andrea explains.
Where: Central Park, Dataran Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Price: No charges
More info: www.facebook.com/DamansaraDementors
The Harry Potter-inspired game may one day make it to the Olympics. In 2012, five teams of quidditch players from Britain, the United States, Canada, France and Australia battled it out in an exhibition match during Oxford’s Olympic torch relay festival in anticipation of the London 2012 Olympics.
Jumping for the skies
Imagine having the largest spring mattress to jump on, without a worry in the world.
Jump Street is the latest family hang-out with 37,000sq ft of floor space fitted with trampolines for some bouncing fun. For V. Sanjugtha and her three kids aged 13, seven and five, this trampoline park is the perfect fit for their active lifestyle.
“When we read about Jump Street, I knew immediately it would be the perfect activity to keep my kids, who are constantly bouncing with energy, entertained,” says 40-year-old Sanjugtha.
With eight different trampoline courts, offering different activities for different individuals, kids can join their parents in a game of basketball or dodgeball, or even go on the free-jump area to test out their jumping skills.
The dodgeball court was fun for homemaker Sanjugtha and her family as they could form teams and compete amongst each other.
“Playing dodgeball on a trampoline is a lot more tiring compared to how we traditionally play it. Instead of running for the balls, my kids and I are bouncing off the rails, giggling together,” says Sanjugtha.
As a safety feature at Jump Street, the management has also urged all jumpers to wear specially designed socks called ‘grip socks’, when jumping on the trampolines. This is so jumpers can control their jumps and not slip.
As for younger kids, there is a dedicated kid’s court and foam pit for them to dive into.
Trainer and coach Terrence Tan brings his five-year-old daughter Mia to the trampoline park because she enjoys somersaulting through the foam pit and running across the kid’s court non-stop.
“Mia is like a bullet train, constantly on the go and loves outdoor activities. When I first discovered Jump Street after coming here with a group of friends, I decided it was the best place for her to burn off some pent up energy,” shares the 39-year-old dad. Tan has been to the park several times now. Mia cannot get enough of the equipment and discovers a new physical activity each time she visits.
“One day, she’s doing cartwheels on the ground, the next she’s jumping on the trampoline like a gymnast,” says the proud dad.
He also adds that Mia gets to meet kids of her age too. “Here, Mia meets kids her own age and makes friends outside her school.
“It’s like going to the playground with a twist,” concludes Tan.
Discovering new trends and the latest activities in town is what brings Sanjugtha and her family together.
“For me, Jump Street is a win-win for my kids and I. They have fun jumping about and I get to work out a little without having to hit the gym!” adds Sanjugtha with a laugh.
Jump Street Asia
Where: 8A, Jalan 13/6, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Price: RM20 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, excluding public holidays); RM25 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public
More info: www.jumpstreetasia.com
Ten minutes of jumping on the trampoline is equivalent to 33 minutes of jogging.
Beat the clock
Fancy being locked in a room with your family (squeamish children notwithstanding) where the only chance of escaping is by getting everyone to chip in to solve a series of mind-boggling puzzles? Well, that’s what you get with Escape Room, a live interactive game.
Basically, you’re given 45 minutes to bust out of a theme room of your choice with varying levels of difficulty – from an abandoned factory to a pirate ship and a slaughter house, or The Shining-inspired Room 13 of the Overlook Hotel.
When Asniza Ismail, 41, and her family first tried out the game, they were shocked but delighted to discover that they had to file into the Prison Break room handcuffed to one another. Their first task was to locate the key that would free them all.
“I kept asking myself: am I really sure I want to put my family through this? We were all really nervous in the beginning; the room was dark and my youngest refused to participate, wanting only for us to hold her close.
I had to convince her that there’s nothing to be scared about. After much coaxing, she finally joined in to help search for clues. Since we weren’t familiar with the game, we failed the mission! But we had so much fun,” Asniza recalls.
Together with her daughters Puteri Nur Izzati, 16, Puteri Nur Izzah Balqis, 10 and Puteri Nur Izzratul Danisha, six and her husband Dasuki Mat Jusoh, 46, the homemaker came back for a second round a month later and tried out the dim and dank Mysterious Room, where the way to escape is by deciphering clue-filled maps.
“By then, we knew we had to work together in order to succeed. And we did! I like how it really keeps us on our toes and gives us the chance to exercise our minds. If not for my kids, I would’ve gone for the scarier rooms. For now, we’re taking it one step at a time,” Asniza says.
According to Escape Room co-owner Victor Lo, the horror-themed rooms are the most popular, especially among families with teenage children.
“We don’t normally have age restrictions because at the end of the day, it’s just solving riddles and puzzles inside a room, but if you have really young children, we’d recommend the Prison Break or The Mummy rooms, which are relatively easier to solve and have a slightly milder atmosphere.”
Older children can always go for a game alone without the adults – Chassiva Zarra Zhafira, 12 who came with her sister Allysa Zetta Mahlil, nine and their friends, siblings Sabrina Najib, 12 and Shaqil, eight, and Kyra Rizal, 14 escaped from the Prison Break room all on their own.
“We were giggling more than anything most of the time. It’s really fun when you come with friends but I would love to try it out with my mum and dad next,” says Chassiva.
Where: e@Curve, Petaling Jaya; Bandar Botanic, Klang; Berjaya Times Square, KL; Setiawalk Mall, Puchong; 1st Avenue Mall, Penang; Sutera Mall, Johor Baru
Price: RM36 per pax (Saturday, Sunday and
More info: www.escaperoom.com.my
Did you know?: The concept is based on the Real Escape Game in Japan, originally developed in 2007 by Takao Kato of Kyoto publishing company SCRAP.
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