How to unwind after a hard day’s work or a tough week at school are never ending questions plaguing the Nigerian public. The question holds merit especially here in the F.C.T. Apart from Silverbird (Ceddi Plaza is in the same category), Wonderland and a few lesser known arcade game spots, there are really no entertainment venues in Abuja. If you are not a fan of parks and Abuja’s numerous eateries, you may be hard pressed to find something to do. But don’t worry thrill seekers, there is something quite unique that has come to Abuja and it is called paintball. The technical jargon first.
paintball is a combination of “tag” and “hide and seek” but is much more challenging and sophisticated. The object of the game is to ‘mark’ your opponent with paint that is expelled from a special air powered equipment, thus signifying their elimination form that round of play. Referees start and stop the games as well as enforce the safety rules and game regulations. Like a game of chess, being able to think decisively is what gives each player the edge. Physical size and strength are not as important as intelligence and determination. A paintball is a thin-skinned gelatin capsule that is non-toxic, biodegradable, water soluble and rinses out of clothing or off skin with just water.
The exciting thing is that it is here in Abuja. Alpha Games, the company spearheading paintball’s incursion in Abuja, has its arena located at Hotel Dabras, Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2. Set on a sprawling field, I was impressed by the facility, game equipment as well as the organization of the place. On visiting the site this past weekend, I had a chance to not only play but talk to the manager, Dangana Ndakotsu. He stated that the company opened its doors in October, 2013 and has rapidly expanded its customer base. He cited Alpha Games online presence, a dearth of entertainment venues as well as word of mouth marketing as driving forces behind new and repeated customers. “We wanted to do something innovative that was fun as well as unique. On choosing paintball we found both. I think we are the first paintball arena in the north and the second in Nigeria.”
Two teams getting ready to face each other
This game is not for everyone. The age range is from 12 and above. But kids don’t be too disappointed; Alpha Games is currently including a shooting range that is open to the younger audience as well as those who want to test their shooting skills.
Before playing the game, players are fitted with a coverall, chest protector, hand gloves, neck protector, and a mask. Customer protection and safety is foremost in the game as paint balls tend to travel at an average speed of 270 fps (feet per second). A referee goes over the rules of the game to make sure everyone knows the aim safety precautions. Each typical game lasts for twenty (20) minutes. Alpha Games is running an opening discount, with tickets starting from ₦2,000. There is also an option to buy an additional 100 pellets (bullets) for ₦1,000 .
My own critique of paintball is that it is a fun and wholesome game for the whole family. Although the paintballs can sting, if all the proper safety equipment is worn and all rules followed, you will thoroughly enjoy your experience. There are even multiple game plays to choose from that comprises of different scenarios and team objectives.
A few tips to know before coming to play. Come with sneakers as there is a lot of running. You also want to come with a group of people. The more the merrier. The maximum the field can take at a time is 16 people. The manager also advised customers to book on the phone as there is always a waiting list.
Take it from a journalist who shot a couple of people, if you are seeking for a thrill this weekend you should definitely consider stopping at Alpha Games.