Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 4:54 p.m.
It begins innocently enough. A genteel group on a Las Vegas vacation or a conservative convention crowd gathers in a hotel bar for early evening drinks. After a half-hour of welcome cocktails, the host from the fictitious company Las Vegas VIP All the Way escorts those who have booked the Iconic Night Out tour onto a luxury bus.
From that moment, forget anything you ever thought would remotely resemble Las Vegas normalcy. Welcome to “Las Vegas: The Game,” where anything goes and normally does — except it’s all scripted to fine-tune detail for the unsuspecting who believe they are on a typical party-bus club crawl.
But wait — how did that helpless individual somehow join the group? And is that quiet person onboard mysteriously after one stop really who he or she looks to be? Who scored a date with the willing busty blonde to join the crawl?
The customized nightlife experience is designed as the ultimate prank, and game directors Justin Oswald and Chad Hardy can tailor it to bamboozle birthday pals, bachelor and bachelorette groups and divorce celebrants or even created a “Hangover Part 4” video.
The two owners who moved here to live and work at their downtown headquarters are a couple of crazies who think nothing is more fun than pie-ing each other in the face when the other least expects it. Justin is a relation (and heir) to the Heinz ketchup dynasty.
And who better than Chad, who created the controversial Mormon calendar, to plot these dastardly deeds? He was the genius behind the controversial Men on a Mission and Hot Mormon Muffins calendars. His photos of shirtless hunks returning from missions and pinups of Mormon mothers led BYU to rescind his college degree.
Chad spent two years on a Mormon mission in San Diego and wound up turning down the coveted role of Prince Charming at Disneyland to pay for his studies. He became the youngest entertainment director for the Utah Jazz before starting Adventure Group producing offbeat events and seminars for billion-dollar companies that appreciated his imagination and delusion.
Without anybody being any the wiser or guessing the true identity of the fellow revelers, a mix of characters comes into play at various places. Enjoy champagne and the view down the Strip from Mix atop Mandalay Bay, but watch out for the sexy showgirl at the bar who slips onto the bus afterward.
Stop into a dive bar and see if the unemployed clown can persuade you to buy his drinks before he worms his way onto the bus. Pose for photos by the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, and suddenly the group is forced to join up to fight off an unwanted bounty hunter trying to arrest one of the passengers.
It’s all the crazy mishaps you thought only went on in “The Hangover,” but now you’re right in the thick of it. And it looks so real and is acted out so well that you don’t have a clue you’re part of an elaborate prank.
“Life is a wheel,” said Chad. “Sometimes you’re at the bottom; sometimes you’re at the top. Occasionally you have to be at the bottom in order to grow the necessary energy to project you back upward.
“I insist of having fun while making money. I want to play all the time, and I’ve figured out a number of ways to do just that. ‘Las Vegas: The Game’ is one of those pay-to-play endeavors. This is the newest way to experience the oddity that is Sin City.”
Chad and Justin have two professional casts to carry out the game twice nightly. Even at $179 per person (generous alcohol included) for the three stops in three hours, there has to be a large enough group to round out to meet the $2,500 minimum.
In the year “The Game” has been continually improvising in refined story status and prank popularity, business has been growing every week. Next up, the expansion to downtown and private tours of the Mob Museum. Then Justin and Chad have men’s strip club adventures planned for bachelor parties.
You can explore LasVegasTheGame.com for additional information, plot evil scenarios and make the racy reservations. Good luck as you start a journey to enter a world you never guessed would turn into a real-life nightmare of eventual fun and laughter as the ultimate prank is finally exposed.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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