Outdoor playgrounds are all fun and games until basketballs deflate, milk cartons spill, or Red Rover sends rabies right over. Embrace indoor explorations with today’s Groupon: for $48, you get an Eat and Play Group Combo—which includes bowling, laser tag, arcade games, and pizza—at Perfect Games in Ames (an up to $117.47 value).
The Tribune's 2011 Best Kid Friendly/Family Place in Story County, Perfect Games continues the never-ending war against humanity’s oldest and stodgiest nemesis, boredom, with the Eat and Play Group Combo. The package drafts up to six ordinary individuals and equips them with laser guns, hefty spheres, and electronic training modules for a few hours of intense, hard-fought fun. Teams get two hours to roll the rock on one of Perfect Games’ 24 professional-grade bowling lanes (an up to $69.68 value including shoes), outfitted with projection screens, bumpers for amateurs, and a neon-and-black-light extravaganza every Friday and Saturday night that transforms balls into planets hurtling through a vast, unknowable cosmos before exploding in a supernova of scattered pins (up to a $69.68 value including shoes). When players aren't punishing uppity pins, a card loaded with $30 in credit frees itchy trigger fingers to stalk two floors of simulated danger in seven-minute laser-tag skirmishes ($4.49–$4.99) or work up some booty-earning tickets on Perfect’s more than 55 arcade games.
Guests can pause between targeted strikes against their human, virtual, and pin-headed nemeses to lounge on the waterfront patio and fuel up on the included 16-inch pizza pie (an up to $17.79 value) from Perfect Games’ menu of made-from-scratch pizzas, such as the italian-meated Scarface, the Fly Me To The Moon taco pizza, and The Last Request, which fulfills the stated desires of chicken and broccoli to be buried together in a white-sauce-and-parmesan sea.
Bowling balls tumble down Perfect Games’s 24 lanes, which are situated beneath a row of flat-screen TVs. In between frames, players lounge in comfy couches or make their way to the sports bar for a quick round of billiards. Black lights illuminate each lane's invisible-inked diary entries at Friday and Saturday cosmic-bowling sessions, and the laser arena’s two floors remain aglow at all times, as participants snake through labyrinthine corridors brightened with splashes of red, orange, and green paint.
Elsewhere, an arcade enthralls gamers with titles such as Time Crisis 3 and Guitar Hero, and a bounce house shelters leaping tykes aged 7 and younger. Kingpin Pizza reenergizes visitors with its extensive menu of paninis, pasta, salads, and made-from-scratch New York--style thin-crust pizzas cooked in a Roto-Flex oven whose rotating stone shelves can bake up to 100 pizzas every hour.