Tim Steckle and Nelson Eng have fond memories of going to Westland Mall when they were younger.
Former students of Livonia Franklin High School and their close friends remember the crowded mall when they were younger. With traffic down and the malls no longer the destinations they once were, the two began thinking of ways to start a business in the mall at Wayne and Warren Roads.
“I used to go to this mall all the time. I saw malls disappear; it started eating at me,” he said. “I remember when I was a kid, when you walked into a mall, you saw everyone here. Everyone was out.”
Returning to their love of realistic laser tag, the two began to develop plans for a new attraction. Today, this attraction aims to provide visitors with an experience usually only found in a video game.
The company is Battlefield CQB, a laser tag experience like no other in the area. It’s not your father’s laser beacon: Gone are the paintings and colorful or neon walls, replaced by a realistic weapon and playing surface. Weapons are heavier and reminiscent of a submachine gun, and the play area has many bends and corners, similar to maps found in online first-person shooter video games.
Open in the space formerly owned by Ulta at the south end of the mall, Battlefield CQB allows up to 20 players to don gear and play a variety of games. Options include Team Deathmatch, Elimination, and one of the most popular options, Security Cracker, where a group of players seek to locate a safe and extract the gold from it while the other team tries to stop them.
The play area measures just under 10,000 square feet and is designed to be easily navigated.
“All rooms are set up for CQB (close combat), so they’re all fed different angles and different variations,” Speckle said. “We wanted to feel like we were in a building and had to go from room to room.”
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Players can book group time online, or simply come and meet other players to play. Once they arrive, they swipe their card, adding their information into the system and indicating their level. Speckle said the system is connected to a network, which means players playing on other sites using the same system can take their information and use it on other sites as well, and vice versa.
“It’s all part of a ranking system, so you can go play here, level up, then you can go to Rochester (Hills to MI-Combat, another similar place) and your scores will carry over,” said Speckle. “Just like Call of Duty, you rise through the ranks.”
In addition to small groups, there is room for parties and groups looking to use the space as well. Speckle and Eng said they even had security companies use the space as a type of training facility as well. The two hope to contact local police departments to see if they are interested in using the space for training.
Battlefield CQB is open Wednesday through Sunday and requires players to be 13 or older. More information, including how to reserve a game hour, can be found at battlefieldcqb.net.
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