My spur-of-the-moment idea was to go to Tilt Studio, the mall’s ultimate family entertainment destination, offering arcade games, mini-golf, lazer tag, and bowling.
“Last one!” my husband Travis announced as he emerged from the dressing room to show me the button-down shirt he was trying on. “Well?” he asked, looking at me expectantly.
“Looks good,” I said.
“Great! Then let’s get out of here!”
Travis and I were at Macy’s for our semi-annual “freshen up the hubby’s wardrobe” excursion, something that neither one of us particularly looked forward to, but which was necessary to keep him stylish, and keeping him stylish meant that he wouldn’t have to bear any criticism from our teens about his fashion choices.
We all do what we can to survive.
As we walked to our car, I thought about what a good sport he was; being the lone male in a household of females must be tough, and dutifully modeling clothes for your wife at Macy’s on a Wednesday night must be tougher.
“I have an idea!” I said. “Since we have a few hours before we have to pick the kids up from your mom’s house, let’s go back inside the mall and have some fun!”
Travis tilted his head and looked at me like I had just stepped out of a UFO. “Fun?” he asked, his forehead crinkling. “What kind of fun can you possibly have at the mall.”
“Trust me,” I said, grabbing his hand and pulling him toward the mall entrance.
And, amazingly, he did.
My spur-of-the-moment idea was to go to Tilt Studio, the mall’s ultimate family entertainment destination, offering arcade games, mini-golf, lazer tag, and bowling. It’s a place that I’ve taken the kids to many times – often as a reward for being patient while we shopped for school clothes for them.
Hmm, I wonder why it crossed my mind to bring Travis here today?
As we entered Tilt, the neon colors and blinking lights from the sea of arcade games welcomed us. We saw another adult couple there by themselves, and I felt an instant kinship with them. We were like those couples who return to visit Disneyland without their kids so they could experience the park without the responsibilities of parenting.
“You brought me to Tilt?” Travis asked, still confused by my carpe diem decision. He’s normally the playful one of the two of us, while I’m Mrs. Taskmaster.
“Every time we’re here, we follow the kids and watch them have fun,” I explained. “Tonight we get to play.”
“Okay,” Travis said, shrugging his shoulders.
Did I mention that he’s a good sport?
“Where do you want to start?” he asked.
“Here,” I said, dropping my purse in front of Lazer Frenzy, a game where you go inside a foggy, black-lit room and have to navigate through a grid of laser beams without touching them. I’d wanted to do this for years but I didn’t want to leave the kids alone while I did it.
But tonight there were no kids.
Tonight was the night.
Move over, Tom Cruise. I’m taking over this mission.
I crawled under and climbed over the neon green laser beams, breaking only one – or so I thought; when I emerged from the mission room, my report indicated that I had actually broken 9 beams.
I guess you can have your mission back, Tom.
We left Lazer Frenzy and explored the area behind it next.
There was skee ball (check out where that ball is about to land – woohoo!)
And mini-bowling. With the surprisingly heavy mini ball, I got a strike and beat Travis.
I was on a roll, feeling pretty lucky at that point.
Then came air hockey. I adore air hockey. If we had a place for an air hockey table at our house, I would have one. And I would play it every single day.
I mentally prepared myself to take on my husband (as you can tell from my game face).
Meanwhile, Travis looked like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Why wasn’t he taking me seriously as a competitor? I’d show him.
I fiercely defended my goal, whacking the puck so hard that I thought it would jump the edge of the table. I scored the first goal.
But then Travis tied the game, then I tied the game, and we continued this competitive pattern until I got careless and the puck entered my goal – twice.
I tried not to let that get me down. After all, I did beat Travis at skee ball and bowling, I reminded myself.
I shook off my air hockey loss as we walked to the next area. To commemorate our date night, we decided to take a couple’s selfie the old-school way – in a photo booth. Still, there was advanced technology in this booth, and we were slightly challenged (as you can see from the last two pictures).
We went on to play a water gun race, which Travis let me win (I guess he felt bad about beating me at air hockey); then we tested our driving skills on the NASCAR game.
It came as no surprise that Travis’ driving skills excelled above my own. I kept crashing my race car going a conservative 86 mph while Travis kept his under control going 175 mph.
Fun fact: Travis tried to teach me how to drive a car with a stick-shift when I was a teenager.
Fun fact: I still don’t know how to drive a car with a stick-shift.
But what I can do is dance, so when I saw Tilt’s Dance Revolution game, I thought, “I can do this!”
All I had to do was to move my feet according to the arrows on the screen. Easy peasy, right?
Wrong. It’s actually a lot harder than it sounds, and there was a major delay between what my eyes were seeing on the screen and how quickly my brain commanded my feet to move.
I’ll just stick to freestyle dancing.
“Want to play laser tag?” Travis asked, trying to distract me from the awkward Dance Revolution situation.
I checked the time on my phone. “Oh, my gosh! It’s already time to pick up the kids,” I said, disappointed that our play time had come to an end. “I guess you and I will have to come back to play laser tag.”
And air hockey, I mentally added.
Tilt Studio is located at the north end of Northpark Mall, located at 101 North Rangeline Road. Click here to visit its website.
Christine is a Chicago native and has lived in Joplin for almost two decades. Growing up in the Windy City, she loved to explore the wide variety of museums, restaurants, sports venues, theaters and parks. When she moved to Joplin her goal was to learn about the unique culture and attractions in the area. Now Christine discovers new things each week, whether it be a little-known park, a new restaurant or a community event. Joplin can be just as exciting as a major city if you dive in to all the community has to offer.