Ever wanted to jump inside a video game? Justin Smith has.
"It's going to be an interactive-themed maze," said Smith. "A real, virtual video game experience."
Justin Smith wants to turn a warehouse at 8806-8808 7th Avenue North into a maze where guests will face zombies and obstacles to win prizes. The maze will have rotating horror themes and be called "Disturbia in Surburbia." Smith hopes it will attract not only teens and tweens, but adults too who want to enjoy a scary game with friends.
"It'll essentially be like walking in a haunted house but you get full reign," said Smith. "If you look closely there will be places to hide, secret passageways, and tunnels to crawl through. It will be really challenging."
After guests purchase a ticket for an estimated $15-20, they will receive military-style instructions and an outline of the game. Then, they will put on a belt with three flags, much like a flag football belt. Each flag resembles a "life" and guests must run from zombies before losing all three of their lives. If they achieve the objectives without losing a "life," they will win prizes to spend in Disturbia's gift shop.
"If you want to boil it down, it's a big game of capture the flag or hide and seek," said Smith.
A "Nightmare" begins
The "Disturbia in Surburbia" project started about 10 years ago when Smith and his friends were in school at Benilde-St. Margaret's. After the students grew too old for trick-or-treating, they would design and operate a haunted house out of Smith's parents' home in Plymouth.
Smith says as many as 1,500 people would come through over the weekends leading up to Halloween. The friends started thinking they wanted to do something bigger with their haunted idea, and since Smith was generally the ringleader of the haunted affair, he decided to change "Disturbia in Surburbia" into something new.
"We wanted a place where people would be scared, but it wouldbe safe and something that hasn't been done before," said Smith.
Plans are to change out the theme to reflect current movies and trends....like "The Hunger Games"....or "The Avengers." Zombies or whatever "evil" characters are being portrayed will be trained for age-appropriate scare tactics, so the place can keep a family-friendly feel.
"If you are watching a TV show and wondering if you have what you need to survive it, you can come here and test your mettle," said Smith. "We want it be an enjoyable experience, family friendly experience they won't forget something and it will be challenging."
The Golden Valley Planning Commission has already approved the project and it will go before the City Council on July 17 for a public hearing and vote. If approved, Smith hopes to start construction and open in early October to accommodate the Halloween crowd.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Monday, July 09, 2012