By Juliet Bennett Rylah
You’re standing on a raft, drifting through a swamp with three of your best buds but this is no moonlit pleasure cruise. Red orbs blossom like flowers and spit fire at you. Gorillas bare their glowing, violet teeth. With one hand, you fire a Gatling gun mounted to the rail. With the other, you try to extinguish the flames licking at the side of your vessel. Behind you, your BFF, a shotgun in each hand, fires at fins circling in the murky waters below. If you survive, you can order a cocktail from a robot bartender. You’ll need refreshment before you blast through an abandoned mineshaft in search of treasure, pilot a starship to a distant planet and rumble around a futuristic city in a souped-up battle tank.
These adventures, heavy on narrative and teamwork, are only a few of the immersive experiences at Two Bit Circus, a 37,000-square-foot, indoor theme park slated to open in downtown L.A. on September 7.
Founded in 2012 by Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman, the company and its flagship “micro-amusement park” exist at the intersection of technology and whimsy. Two Bit Circus is known for a variety of amusements including a giant ball-in-a-maze game that requires people on teeter-totters to operate, a gunner turret simulator, a laser maze and Hexacade, a six-person arcade console. A few years ago, they built an “escape room” at their space in The Brewery’s art colony. Unlike similar games, however, the goal wasn’t to escape, but to cooperatively pilot a spaceship.
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