In the late 90’s, when Space Center first opened its doors in Hooksett NH, the commercials were like a Siren song. The colors, the sounds, the images on the screen… it all depicted everything that a middle school girl could ever hope for. When we finally went, I wasn’t disappointed. It was a dream come true. The games were fun, putting tokens into slots only to get back piles of paper tickets, jumping on rides, and getting prizes better than the ones at FunSpot. The only downside was when we left… I actually remember getting a big, blue, floppy, fuzzy hat, and a teddy bear. A week later, I gave the bear to an assistant teacher who was moving away. I was in 6th grade, so this must have been 1996 or 97, depending on which part of the school year it was. I even remember the jingle for the old commercial, lauding it for being “Spacetacular”, and it certainly was. Unfortunately, as children, we never went back.
Fast forward 20 years, The girls and I went with a group of friends to Space Center for laser tag. I was fairly excited to go, running on the nostalgia of what I remembered as a wonderful time as a kid. As we walked through the doors, however, I realized things were going to be different this time. No longer do they use tokens, instead, plastic credit card type things are used, which, apparently, if you do not re swipe after playing a game, might not credit your points to you. Most of their games are gone, replaced by so much seating that went unused. Almost half of the building was seating. The games that remain were fine, I suppose, however, there was nothing at all for Arienette to do, her sister even had to be with her in order for her to ride the bumper cars, and even though the ski ball game was half the size of the one at Fun Spot, she still couldn’t do that. There wasn’t a single slot machine in the building. What they DID have were bumper cars, a mini roller coaster, a rotating rock wall, and of course, laser tag. Oh, and the furniture and carpets that they had in the 90’s. There were some claw machines, and a “Buck Hunter” game, and a few others. The prizes were about what you would see at Fun Spot, and every time I saw an employee, they looked like they were bored out of their mind.
To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was sad. To see something that was once such a wonderful memory for me tarnished like that was painful. In the end, the kids did what they were there to do, so they had a good time, Ari ran around and danced in the ample space provided by the couches in the TV area, and I got her some prizes with the points I got while trying to find a game she could play. She had a good time too.I will not be returning to Space Center. I don’t see the point, when Fun Spot is just SO much better.