Lazer Mazer’s Owner Speaks to German Entertainment Industry

Tom Martin, co-owner of Lazer Mazers, (That’s me!) spoke to EAS attendee’s today about technology in the entertainment industry and was well received by his audience.

Technology is embedded in every facet of our society and has enabled us to create entertainment attractions that immerse us in worlds that before could only be imagined. Designs have recently been focusing on increased interaction between the participants and the attraction. Some companies going so far as creating “Choose your own adventure” type rides and video games that require an audience of hundreds to participate and work together in order to accomplish a goal or win.

This new focus of participatory entertainment is in reaction to many criticisms of technology that is blamed for the unhealthy lifestyles and poor social skills of America’s youth. Most theme parks in Europe cater to physical activities such as ropes courses, climbing walls, surfing on man made waves and all manner of inventive ideas that make fitness fun.

Looking down the average Berlin street you see only a few cars on narrow streets, but many bicyclists in their own lanes and hundreds of fit Berliners walking to and from their daily activities. In fact, parking lots are almost non-existent as most people do not own a car. I have yet to see a single obese German and most could hardly be considered overweight. I believe this is in part due to daily physical activity, and also a very healthy diet. There are many neighborhood markets, but not a single donut shop! Even the bakeries have mostly whole grain breads and few sweets.

I did find a McDonalds, and went in for a soda. I asked for the Extra Large, the biggest they had, but was given a cup that we Americans would call a “small”. I knew there must have been some mistake and asked again, only this time louder and with an over exaggerated use of my hands to show “THIS BIG”. The counter person told me in perfect English that this was in fact the largest cup they had and that any more would not be very good for my health. I looked around the small seating area and sure enough most customers had cups that we usually see on the children’s menu. I felt rebuked as I filled my cup and thought to myself, “Geesh, what’s the big deal. I’m being healthy…after all, I’m getting a DIET Coke!”


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