As the song lyrics go, “I’ve had the time of my life.” Well maybe not of my life but I had a time and it was good. There was an air of anticipation, palpable almost, as I attempted something no sane parent should. Take the children to a place packed with other kids, strobe lights, games as far as the eye can see and a store full of pointless #merchandise knowing full well that as soon as you walk through those doors you will undoubtedly spend the rest of the day screaming your child’s name in a lackluster attempt at parenting. Because the harsh reality is that control is only an illusion and it just wouldn’t be #fun unless you lost your children at least once during an outing.
So with anxiety levels at an all time high over the inevitable stress of what should be a fun outing, I pack the kids into the car and head to destination YAY! #TimeZone!
As we walk into the building nostalgia hits me hard. Memories of spending way too much of my hard earned pocket money here, hours upon hours of NBA Live, Street Fighter 2, Tekken, Time Crisis, Daytona USA... just to name a few, come back to me and suddenly I’m 10 years old and feel the excitement growing. As I look around I see children darting from one #game to the next, frothing at the mouth with sensory overload like a puppy that has found a stick insect and a ball and a leaf and if anymore awesome things are discovered it may just explode.
I’m purchasing a charge card because that’s the way of the world now, the only bonus of this is I won’t have to carry around 20kg of change, the downside is I know I’m going to empty my account through the convenience of ‘Pay Pass’. As I scan the room an epic battle is ensuing in front of my eyes.
Mums and Dads alike are fighting hand over fist to get to the various #arcade games before their kids do, leaving the little ones a little sad and shocked, arms crossed as they now have to wait their turn. You see Time Zone isn’t just for the young ones, this place is an homage to our youth. A better time when there was no worry in the world, no crippling debt, no.... wait a minute, where have my children gone!!!
Now the real game begins. With card in hand I frantically run past the revelers too entranced in the flashing lights to worry about the crazed ginger-bearded weirdo yelling out his son’s names, his eyes darting left and right, heart pounding through his chest. Two heart attacks later I spot the little ninja’s sitting atop #motorbikes a look of pure happiness etched across their faces. I shoot them a thumbs up and swipe the card, sending them zooming down the race track. While they are distracted I head to one of many skill based consoles that much like poker machines whisper promises of great reward should you be adept enough to complete the challenge. Much to my surprise I hit a jackpot and 1000 tickets are deposited onto my card, lulling me into a false sense of security, as I was soon to discover. A few more games and my new found confidence is crushed as I realize I do not possess the required skills to win any of the challenges set out before me. So I hightail back to the motorbikes and... the ninja’s have struck again. Less frantic but still sweating the fact that my children, much like David Copperfield, have once again pulled a disappearing act I track down the slippery devils and join them in a highly addictive game of ‘Whack a Minion’. 10 swipes of the card later and funds are dwindling, so I am happy to use the last of the credit on bashing little yellow midgets before heading to the #store to claim our #prizes.
There is a decent selection of toys and gifts on offer, ranging from the completely pointless (and will probably be lost by the end of the day, resulting in a seemingly never-ending tirade of sorrow), to giant plush toys and gadgets even a lava lamp. The staff could clearly see me struggling as the boys picked through the selection of goodies on offer whilst longingly looking over at the motorbikes and much to my relief let me know the tickets would be valid for 12 months.
Tickets spent and goodies in hand I use my magic lasso to drag my little minions back to the car, reminding myself to come back kid free so that I may spend a day regressing back to my own childhood and revel in the lights and sounds that is Time Zone #Bunbury. A place where no matter how old or serious you might be, you too can ‘Have the Time of your Life’.
Even if it is just for an hour.