Entertainment center with ‘Squid Game vibe’ opening in Johnson County. ‘We’re excited’

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It’s difficult to compare Activate to other entertainment concepts in Kansas City.

It’s part-escape room, part-video game, part-“the floor is lava.” Maybe it’s best described as “virtual reality without the headset.” Or perhaps it belongs in a category by itself.

The gaming experience will be up and running at 6900 W. 119th St. in Overland Park (near Rosanna Square) by late spring, early summer, said marketing director Will Gray.

Activate, an interactive gaming experience, is opening this spring or summer in Overland Park.
Activate, an interactive gaming experience, is opening this spring or summer in Overland Park.

Each room is a different game level with an objective. Players advance levels and rack up points as they complete challenges: climbing up walls, ducking under lasers, jumping across tiles and shooting hoops.

One challenge involves scrambling across the room without getting caught by an all-seeing, animated eye. The level is reminiscent of a certain Korean show on Netflix.

“It kind of gives off ‘Squid Game’ vibes,” Gray said. “It’s definitely making sure that you’re gonna have a heart pounding once you’re in there.”

One of Activate’s levels involves hiding from an animated eye.
One of Activate’s levels involves hiding from an animated eye.

Groups of two to five compete in neon-lit game rooms to earn a spot on the leaderboard.

The game is a feat of both mental and physical strength, a popular date night, family outing or anything in between, Gray said.

“You’re definitely going to be getting a whole workout, if you want to,” he said.

The first Activate opened in Winnipeg, Canada, in 2019. Activate ventured to the United States shortly after and now has nine locations across the country, including Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago.

Activate hopes to open a dozen locations this year.

The company chose Overland Park in particular, Gray said, because of how well the area has embraced other entertainment concepts.

“It was an easy choice,” he said. “We’re excited to open in Overland Park.”

Other Johnson County family entertainment centers include Leawood’s Sandbox VR at 4845 W. 117th St., Game Show Battle Rooms at 10520 Metcalf Lane in Overland Park, and Main Event at 11950 N. Kansas City Road in Olathe.

And several more are on the way.

The Merriam Cinemark at 5500 Antioch Drive plans to convert the space into a combination theater and family center, with bowling and arcade games.

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, an indoor go-karting and laser tag facility, is under construction at the old Sprint World Headquarters in Overland Park at 11610 Nall Ave.

The Rush Funplex plans to turn the former Incredible Pizza at 13110 W. 62nd Terrace in Shawnee into another family fun center.