Thank goodness for space wormholes. We are so lucky that Zo, a Zetan from the planet Zeta in the Andromeda Galaxy arrived through his time traveling portal to Earth and landed right here in Kuwait! These fun-loving Zetans live for nothing more than having a good time, and bazaar found the portal at TEKZONE and we weren’t prepared for the elation of the experiences we found inside. Some attractions are the first, not only in the Middle East, but in the world! It wasn’t the drone of computers, lights and technical wizardry buzzing during our visit to TEKZONE; it was us!
The physical environment within TEKZONE is always changing, which adds to the exhilaratingly charged atmosphere. There are three effects on rotation; “ocean”, “jungle” and “future city”. We enjoyed dodging the virtual crabs crawling quickly across the floor or following a school of fish darting haphazardly in different directions; there is always something to catch the eye on the floors, screens or walls of TEKZONE.
We decided as a team to skip the 86+ games in the arcade and the VR motion cinema to throw ourselves into the more physical challenges on offer. There are attractions that look innocent enough but don’t be fooled; on the “Time Loop” you might find yourself hanging upside down or spinning 360 degrees while going up and down tracks on the “Spinning Coaster”!
We pushed our sensory exploration to the limits on a gravity defying, constantly looping roller coaster by drawing the tracks of our own design on a sensor pad for “Finger Coaster”. This produced a thrilling 1000m ride with dips, loops and drops for which we only had ourselves to blame. Embarrassingly enough before strapping into the seats, one bazaarite did ask with a slightly worried timbre, “Why is the chest barrier so loose?” No one wants to fall out of a rollercoaster; safety first right? “Erm…it’s just for an authentic feeling of a rollercoaster seat but you’re really just sitting in a chair that doesn’t move anywhere,” explained the staffer incredulously. Oh man, yes, it’s Virtual Reality. Doh!
But as much as you’re told it’s virtual you still get the feel of the crank of the cars chugging up the track, the whoosh of the wind as you’re whipped sideways along and the vast 360-degree views from when you’re at the top of the track’s highest peak. It feels pretty darned real, but it’s also comforting to know you’re safer than on a traditional creaky coaster!
As the bazaar team is more than ready to start its summer break, there was not one among the team who could even begin to try to solve any puzzles with our frazzled brains, so forgoing the high-tech and digitized multi-media escape rooms, we leapt at the chance to compete against each other on “Atomic Rush”. If you want to really get out of breath, you must try the fastest level possible. Each person chooses a color and smashes it when it flashes across the four sections.
This can also be a game of strategy, “nudging gently” opponents out of the way to stop them smashing their color. Perhaps we’re too competitive at bazaar, either way it is so much fun and great to feel like you are getting some real exercise. We kept on begging breathlessly when the game was going to stop because we were totally exhausted! It’s like the old game of Squash adage, “you need to be fit to play Atomic Rush, you don’t play Atomic Rush to get fit”.
Needing to catch our breath but still feeling like we had scores to settle with each other we moved onto the “Game Changer”. This is the first room in the Middle East that rotates 360 degrees allowing you to experience 4 different shooting games during the ride. The brilliant thing here is that you are pulling on a ball at the end of a rope to fire at the targets. There’s no sense of a trigger or gun being used to fire at the characters and targets on screen, so it suits sensitive millennial bazaarites.
Still recovering from our previous exhaustive play, we were impressed to watch other TEKZONE enthusiasts on “Magic Bikes”. Here, the experience differs depending on the effort you put into it, the first of its ilk in the Middle East; the harder you pedal the higher you go!
So, feeling like we should really get our game into gear, we got ready for some real action with “Virtual Reality Wall Climbing”. This combines motion tracking and projected graphics to create fun and challenging interactive games, almost like playing volleyball but flat on a wall, or a virtual whack-a-mole but you’re trying to smash a bat instead of a mole.
It’s hard to see where the images are, that’s half the fun of it, but rushing to catch the projected image can mean you lose your grip and bazaar bottoms did hit the deck rather ungracefully twice in their competitive eagerness. Thank goodness for that super soft thick mattress landing.
Nursing our dignity, we went to “Funlabs” the Interactive Arts and Crafts area. Here you can physically color-in and scan your templated fish picture into a virtual aquarium and watch your fish swim around! There are also sand pits, where if you pick up the sand and sprinkle it you’ll be in for a visual surprise which we won’t spoil for you here. There’s also a game of fishing where you can actually pick up virtual sea-life with paddles and place them gently in a mini-pool for points. While these areas may be ideal for younger children, bazaar still absolutely loved this space.
There is one thing that you really must try, the only Virtual Reality Bumper Car experience in existence. You still bump cars in reality but you also get an additional thrill of boxing or outer space, like a 4D cinematic experience.
With over 100 attractions and nearly 90 arcade games within 4250m2 of fun space, as well as refuelling choices from Raising Canes, Starbucks and a TEKZONE snack stand with fresh popcorn amongst other things, this is a full day experience. It is super popular and we were surprised to see that even though TEKZONE opened at 10am, by 10.02am on the Sunday morning we were visiting there was already a queue at the ticket counters. TEKZONE comes highly recommended.
Visit TEKZONE situated in The Forum Basement, Phase IV – The Avenues. To discover more about TEKZONE, follow them on Facebook and Instagram on @TEKZONEME. Purchase rechargeable TEKZONE cards at the reception check-in. Charge cards may also be given as gift vouchers. Opening hours from 10 am-11 pm Saturdays to Wednesdays and 10 am-midnight on weekends.
Featured image by bazaar staff.