Very near the beginning of our trip, a group of relatives were heading to a place called MagiQuest. They tried to tell us that it would be a cool experience but we'd been planning to take our first trip to the beach and couldn't be persuaded to go with them on their quest. Later in the week, when we were talking about what we would like to do before heading home, Sam explained that he thought he would really like to go to MagiQuest after all.
At first, I was hesitant to take him, feeling that we were there to be with family and since we'd missed our family's trip there, and we'd be leaving nearly everyone to go. (And it looked pretty hokey to me.) But he explained that it was really important to him. I remembered a family reunion in Maine where, having only lived in Kansas and Iowa, the only thing I wanted to do was go whale watching and how I didn't get to go because not enough other people wanted to go and decided I wasn't going to do that to Sam. So on the last full day, we grabbed my mom and headed to MagiQuest. She opted to watch an IMAX movie about the ocean while we were on the adventure but we appreciated her keep us company on the way there and back.
It ended up being cooler than I expected. First, he had to basically create his character. He decided to be from the Warrior clan which wasn't positioned to be as vicious as the word warrior sounds. Mostly, they were about strength. I would have picked Warrior or Woodsy. Most of the other clans were silly. Then we had to "power his wand" by paying. This gave him access to Magi training with an experienced wizard. He learned how to exist and go on quests in this kingdom and we were off to the Stone Circle to accept his first quest.
In each quest, he had to find and collect several items, take them to a particular place and do a certain thing. I think in his first quest, the Lightning quest, he had to find a sword, a shield, a book, a suit of armor and take it to a particular magical person. He would be awarded a Rune then rush back to the Stone Circle to receive instructions for completing the next quest.
There were probably 12 quests and in the two hours we played, he completed seven or eight. We had a map of the kingdom but after the first hour, we were pretty comfortable getting around without it. All of these people in one kingdom running around on their own quests reminded me to the online game he sometimes plays, RuneScape. The imaging was a bit of a rip-off from Harry Potter but who can blame them for wanting to ride that wave? Overall, it was mostly an electronic scavenger hunt/interactive video game.
It also reminded me a bit of Tiger Games' Lord of the Rings wireless sword tv game. Sam loved this game and we felt fine about letting him play for an extended period of time because he would come out of his room sweating from swinging the sword to power his character. Sometimes, Cam and I played too and knew first-hand that it was a workout. In MagiQuest, he had to wave his wand at items to collect them and at information stations to see what he was supposed to do next, etc. It wasn't as vigorous as waving the sword (or light saber in the case of the StarWars wireless tv game my brother got for Sam) but we were running around and up and down stairs which was a different type of movement than the tv or online games offer.
Sam was a bit disappointed because he didn't get to fight the dragon. We watched some other people dueling. He would have had to complete all of the quests then several adventures before coming close to the dragon and that just wasn't possible in the two hours I was willing to give to the game. I understood that the people who built the place couldn't let you beat the game on your first visit. They want you to come back many, many times.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is no MagiQuest in California. They did mention a DinoQuest and said his wand would work there. Maybe on some future trip to LA, he can visit the Discovery Science Center in Santa Anna.