April 10, 2024
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April 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Blast 7D: An Out-of-This-World Ride

Three, two, one … BLAST 7D! The American Dream’s newest experience is an attraction like no other. Having visited Disney World in Florida 26 times and been on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin well over 30 times, I never imagined that a comparable ride would ever be built near me in Teaneck. Much to my delight, however, Blast 7D, which officially opened in September at the American Dream Mall, not only provides a shooting game reminiscent of the Buzz Lightyear ride but actually offers one that surpasses it.

A few weeks ago, my wife, Ahuva, my brother Gabe and I stepped through the portal-designed entrance, transporting us from the American Dream Mall into the world of Blast 7D. The owner of the location, Vito Zarrillo Jr., gave us a warm welcome. He told us that Blast 7D is a multiplayer game in which we would shoot the bad guys and compete for the highest score. There are five different themes to choose from, including battling ghost clowns, robot cowboys, werewolves, zombies, or the monster Gigamon. Each gameplay is 10 minutes long, and for those waiting in the lobby for their turn, there are TV screens that show live footage of the blasters in action. Vito then handed each of us a pair of 3D glasses and led us to the Blast 7D Theater.

Inside the theater, we saw two rows of six chairs each, a giant movie screen and many fancy-looking gadgets throughout the room. Ahuva and I sat in the front row, while Gabe sat in the back row, which is elevated for better viewing. Attached to the side of each chair was our personal shooting blaster.

Vito came out, saying that every seat at Blast 7D is a great seat and that for the next few minutes, our friends and family would become our rivals. He exclaimed that the game we were playing entailed fighting a ferocious Godzilla-type monster called “The Gigamon.” He then left, as the lights dimmed and the huge screen turned on, teleporting us to New York City.

For the first round, we fought off flying lizard monsters with wings that were attacking the streets of New York. Buses, cars and people were all in a frenzy during the commotion of the battle. If you hit a monster, you got points, but if you shot a civilian, you lost points. Our chairs dipped and leaned back corresponding to the game’s camera angle, as well as shook whenever there was an impact, which added to the realism of the experience. Large fans in front of and above us blew air in our faces, allowing us to feel the rush of the passing vehicles and the speed of their sharp turns.

Speakers all around the room allowed us to hear the civilians’ screams, the monsters’ roars and the blasters being fired as if they were right next to us. There were also strobe lights above us that flashed in sync with the game. Additionally, the graphics on the screen were very realistic, giving us the impression that we were actually in New York. With all of the added special effects, I felt the fun of being on a roller coaster while simultaneously feeling the terror of trying to save the planet.

After a few minutes of blasting, the game paused, displaying the leaderboard scores along with a headshot photo of each of the players taken by a hidden camera during the round. The second round got even crazier as the battle raged on in the underground of New York’s subways, eventually taking us up into a helicopter fighting in the air. For the finale, the giant Godzilla monster known as Gigamon arrived, requiring all of us to fire at the creature together in order to destroy it. In the end, and after surviving a huge plane crash, we were victorious having defeated Gigamon! Following that, the final standings were presented showing how each of us fared.

We played two additional games, and each time Vito returned to ensure that everyone was buckled properly and to give his pregame pump-up speech. The first one was called “Carnival,” featuring killer ghost clowns as our enemy target. This game was more disorienting than the Gigamon version since there were sharper and more-sudden turns, with many scenes portrayed on a carnival roller coaster. The clowns are quite daunting, adding a thrill to the experience. The last game was called “Zombies,” involving us inside a story where our car had broken down in the middle of nowhere, and a pack of zombies was attacking us. It was also pretty scary, but I found the clowns to be even more frightening. Coincidentally, Gabe and I finished in the same standings, taking third and fourth place respectively, while Ahuva came in last place during the clown and zombie games.

After the rides, Vito shared his story and the history behind Blast 7D. He said he had been working in advertising up until his late 40s, and then with his wife Amanda’s encouragement decided that he wanted to switch career paths and do something that would bring joy to people. Opening Blast 7D fulfilled that goal for the Hoboken couple. Blast 7D is exclusively at the American Dream Mall and cannot be found anywhere else.

Overall, I would rate Blast 7D a 10 out of 10. I am a big fan of competitive games, and considering Blast 7D’s special effects, it is easily the best shooter ride I have ever been on. My favorite part was when we felt like we were in a helicopter during the Gigamon game. There were a lot of dips and twists that our chair made, and with the fans blowing very hard on us, it felt like we were actually flying. I also liked how they showed our photos above our scores, making us feel like we were entrenched in the Blast 7D record books.

Vito is an incredible owner who cares about each customer and wants everyone to have as much fun as possible. Each of his introductory speeches got me psyched up, enhancing the actual gameplay. To top it off, the admission price is not that expensive as prices start at just $15 a person per ride and are discounted with frequency.

I would recommend that if you are looking for a unique type of entertainment that is close by that you check out this gem attraction. Blast 7D is probably best suited for people ages 10+ since the graphics could be intense. The game’s plots are simple, yet effective for a fun blasting game storyline. I can’t wait to visit again, and I hope you decide to visit, too!

Admission: $15 for one ride, $27 for two rides, and $36 for three rides; Special deal on Jets/Giants games: Get 10% off.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., extended to 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

Location: Parks Court, Level 1 at the American Dream Mall.

Unique Feature: Five thrilling shooter games with advanced special effects.

Zachary Greenberg is a health and benefits consultant at Mercer and is the TABC track coach. In 2015, Zachary helped the TABC chess team take first place in the Yeshiva League Chess Championships. Additionally, he recently watched the new Marvel film “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” If you have any recommendations of fun places for Zachary to cover, please email him at [email protected].

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