Nightlife for the nondrinker: fun and games in Ames

Ashley Hunt

Often when we think night life, we think of going out to a house party or the bars and having a few drinks. Ames has so much more to offer than just going out and getting intoxicated.

So, if you’re underage or just don’t like to drink alcohol, don’t worry about getting bored.

Ames and Iowa State have plenty of fun and games for you to participate in — sober. Iowa State offers ISU AfterDark and West Ames has Perfect Games. 

ISU AfterDark is a program offered the last Friday of every month in the Memorial Union, specifically as an alternative to drinking.

The event happens three times each semester and is completely free to Iowa State students. Each AfterDark event is substance free, meaning no alcohol or any illegal drugs are allowed at the event.

“It’s really promoted as an act to do besides going to the bars,” said Chelsea Meyers, bingo director for ISU AfterDark.

ISU AfterDark hosts a large variety of events. Comedians often serve as the main entertainment. Earlier in the semester, College Humor Live headlined the event, and there was a line to get in going straight out the Memorial Union and around the side of the building.

“We also have bingo at every event,” Meyers said. “There is $1,000 worth of prizes. It’s a free event so when you come to play, chances are you’re going to be winning things.”

Prizes range from toasters to food to ISU theme gifts, such as a Cyclone quilt.

There are also grand prizes offered, such as an iPad. 

In addition to these events, smaller things go on throughout the night as well. There are craft tables and photo booths at the events, so there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Another important thing for students to consider when deciding whether to attend the event is the fact that there is free food. Who doesn’t appreciate a free meal?

In the past, ISU AfterDark has had catering from Panda Express as well as from ISU Dining.

Meyers stressed that ISU AfterDark is a great way to socialize and meet other people. During her time working with the organization, she said she hasn’t just seen freshmen attend. There is a wide range of attendees, ranging from freshmen to super seniors.

Another option for students wishing to stay away from Campustown and all of its bars is Perfect Games, located in West Ames next to the Hilton Garden Inn. Perfect Games houses fun activities for people of all ages. With 24 lanes of state-of-the-art bowling, a two-story laser tag arena and a huge arcade, there’s no chance of being bored, even for a second.

For college students, bowling seems to be the most popular. Of course, the arcade and laser tag arenas are both big hits with students as well.

Daily specials indicate which area of the building will see the most popularity. A Wednesday night offers students a deal on bowling, which means more lanes will be filled. And on Thursdays, when laser tag games are cheaper, the laser tag arena is bound to be a bit fuller than usual.

“What makes us unique is that you don’t typically go to a bowling alley where you get full services,” said Jean Kamp, administrative assistant of Perfect Games. “We do offer that. We also have a VIP section. It’s just not your typical bowling set up.” Whereas many bowling alleys have a snack bar, Perfect Games has Kingpin Pizza and a full menu to go along with the pizza, including pasta and appetizers.

Whether you’re in for a fun night of bowling or an athletic game of laser tag, Perfect Games serves as a fun — actually a really fun — alternative to going to the bars.

So you underagers — don’t risk a ticket — go ahead and find fun in a legal way, whether that’s right here on campus for ISU AfterDark, or a quick bus ride away to Perfect Games.