Activate Southlake general manager Jackson Worley said when guests walk into the gaming facility that it feels like a regular building, but when they leave the lobby through a short hallway, the experience becomes futuristic.

“It becomes dark and the lights are changing colors, you feel like you took a portal to a different time and universe,” Worley said. “You feel like you’re part of the game, not just playing it.”

He goes on to explain that there are 12 arenas and within them, four to five different games can be played.

The details

Each arena can accommodate up to five people at a time. Guests can choose to play competitively or collaboratively with the group they are in.

“There are three categories of games: team building, critical thinking/problem solving and athleticism,” Worley said.

He used the laser room to explain the concept that multiple games can be played in one arena.

One option is to use the arcade blasters and aim lasers at targets, or participants can dodge straight and diagonal lasers.

“It’s one of my favorite ones because you’re like a secret agent, you dodge lasers, navigate through it,” he said. “There’s jumping and running.”

How it started

Will Gray, marketing director at Activate Games, said that Activate was founded by Adam and Megan Schmidt.

“Adam and Megan Schmidt, entrepreneurs behind one of Canada’s top escape room businesses, identified a gap in the market for an engaging active gaming concept that offered replayable elements,” Gray said in an email. “This vision took shape in their backyard shed, through endless nights of creative redirection and team collaboration, culminating in the launch of the world's first active gaming facility—Activate.”

Activate Southlake is owned by US Licensees, who are also the founders of Breakout Games, an American escape room company with more than 32 locations nationwide.

The first Activate was opened in Winnipeg, Canada. The first U.S. location was in Louisville, Kentucky. Activate Southlake opened April 12.

Who its for

Worley said they recommend guests be at least 10 years old because some of the games get complex, or are fast moving, and can create issues for smaller children. Many of their guests are between high school and people in their 30s.

He said Activate Southlake attracts guests for various reasons including date nights, gamers who want to find a different game to play, families, birthday pirates and team-building events.

“It's very intriguing for the guests, they hear about it but can’t completely imagine it,” Worley said. “We’ve all been shopping, to a movie, to a trampoline park. Not everyone has experienced what Activate has to offer. It's something different.”