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Friday January 24, 2020

We walk along the path to the entrance. Crickets are chirping and birds are chirping all around us. In the distance we hear the sound of drums. Suddenly a clearing opens up in front of us. There is a large hut with a bamboo roof and wooden facade. At the top of the hut, directly above our heads, a gorilla, about three meters tall, is beating its chest in a menacing pose. We're in the middle of the jungle. – In the “Jungle” play paintball.

Exactly with this first impression you enter the theme park of PlayPaintball in Mechernich, North Rhine-Westphalia as an adventurous hobby paintball player. – Of course, the green ground is artificial grass, the sounds of crickets, birds and drums come from the speaker and the gorilla is of course not real. Nevertheless, this first impression pulls you under its spell and takes you as a visitor into a completely different world.

This innovative concept transforms the normal paintball fields of the past into today's true theme amusement parks. As a visitor, you are fully immersed in the theme from the first to the last minute of your stay. This fact increases the experience of playing paintball significantly and provides even more fun and adventure feeling.

Change of location… We head for the next facility. In a remote industrial area of Mönchengladbach, hundreds of adrenaline junkies fight a battle for the survival of mankind against the overpowering zombie apocalypse every week. We are on the Lost City site. This facility also belongs to the PlayPaintball.de Entertainment Parks and is designed entirely in the style of an old outpost. At the entrance to the site, you pass through a huge gate reminiscent of a makeshift barricade made of scrap metal. Armed soldiers are sitting on top of the gate and zombies are already climbing up the facade. Inside looks similar. As a visitor, you first pass through a checkpoint secured with sandbags and barbed wire. From there it goes through the inner courtyard to the briefing. This takes place in an old army tent, as befits its status. You sit in old airplane and bus seats and listen to the camp leader's explanations. After that, the weapons issue awaits us. – Everyone gets a paintball marker, a mask and ammunition.

We are then led through a long tunnel in the direction of the playing field. Here in "Lost City" too, the entire atmosphere is fully geared towards the theme, in this case apocalypse and zombie apocalypse. Some of the details of the setting are cinematic and gradually lead the player deeper into the story. The actual paintball game is still the highlight of the visit, but you are also fully involved in the breaks. So the excitement and thrill never decreases during your stay in the park. For us as visitors it was a great experience that we will remember for a very long time.

Last but not least, we visited a third paintball facility that deserves the title “modern paintball amusement park” for us. We are guests at Planet Paintball Nidda. The facility is one of the few remaining paintball halls in Germany and is also the largest indoor paintball theme park in Germany. In addition to the paintball fun, a consistent theme is also in the foreground here.

This time we are kidnapped to Central America, more precisely to the Mayas. What looks like an old tennis hall from the outside turns out to be a really attractively decorated leisure facility with the flair of an old Mayan settlement. A stone gate leads to the large reception area, which has been transformed into an adventure camp with lots of lighting and decoration. Between ammunition boxes, camouflage nets and deceptively real-looking Mayan ruins, you can spend an exciting day here with lots of action and adrenaline. The indoor playing field can be played on all year round regardless of the weather and, as a highlight, offers not only two-storey buildings, stairways and a real airplane as cover, but also effects such as fog, light and jungle sounds. We were particularly surprised by the cleanliness of this facility, because this is not a matter of course, especially in paintball halls. The operators here really do everything to make the customer feel comfortable throughout their stay. This is also an important part of the all-round happy package that modern paintball fields have to offer their customers if they want to keep up with other modern leisure activities of today.

Of course there are numerous other paintball facilities in Germany that are damn big, varied and entertaining. However, these are mostly designed for an overall concept that unites both guest players with rental equipment and hobby paintballers with their own equipment and the tournament professionals. Facilities that are designed for all of these target groups usually have significantly larger playing fields. Due to the overall size, it is usually much more difficult for the operator to develop and implement a coherent overall concept. Still, these fields definitely have their appeal and offer opportunities that the theme parks we visit can't.

However, if you are a newbie paintball enthusiast or just looking for an interesting pastime with friends, you will appreciate the modern concept that paintball theme parks have to offer. For us, this trend is clearly trend-setting and a good step into the future of paintball leisure sports in Germany.

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