Breakout Games, a private escape room experience with 37 locations nationwide, came to Louisville in 2015. Ever since then, the company’s leaders have been looking for more activities that allow friends, family and colleagues to engage one another for a casual night of fun or intense competition. They found that next-level concept in Activate Games is a high-tech gaming experience that tests players’ physical and mental agility in a variety of ways.
The 10,000-square-foot facility, located two miles from Breakout Games, is three times the size of Breakout and is the first location in the United States. Activate Games, which has 10 micro-arenas, invites teams to choose from hundreds of combinations of games and difficulty levels, each lasting one to three minutes.
“It’s not a video game where you’re using a controller,” says Co-owner Bryce Anderson. “Instead, you’re inside the game, actively dodging the lasers, shooting the basketball, climbing the wall. It’s a great way to get exercise while having a lot of fun.”
Players wear an electronic wristband that tracks scores as they earn points, leveling up with team members. If a player levels up the grid, then everyone on the team receives 1,200 points added to their wristbands. As players compete in and complete the challenges in the various micro-arenas, points are awarded to their player profiles, which carry over from experience to experience. Those points can be traded in for prizes.
“We have families who travel 45 minutes every other week to come play,” Anderson says.
Activate, which is designed for players 10 and older, offers games that are physically demanding and some that are more mental, including trivia. The common denominator is simply scoring points and having fun, all while working together as a team.
The Activate staff opened the doors to the facility in December of 2019, and business was booming when COVID-19 hit.
“Each week was better than the last as we had youth groups, corporate groups, friends and families, and even whole schools coming in,” says Anderson, noting that the business has also matched up various games to fulfill different physical education requirements for the county and state.
Though Louisville was hit hard economically this summer, the city is rebounding and hundreds of people now play each week.
“We feel like, especially during this time, doing something with people is really important but it has to be done in a safe way,” says Anderson, noting that his facility provides a safe indoor activity since each room only contains a single group.
Anderson has heard a recurring message from customers. They admit to some initial hesitation about coming in, and say their anxiety vanished once they saw how safe the environment is.
“Over the last year, vacations, events and celebrations have gotten cancelled, and people are missing fun in their lives,” Anderson says. “To have this local option where people can escape what is the new normal for a bit is a real gift, and we are happy to provide that break.”
Activate Games is located at 2510 Hurstbourne Gem Lane in Louisville. For more information, give them a call at 502-829-7002 or visit them online at activate.games.