Ready, Set, Rage: Rage Rooms Bring a Smashing Time

Bella Autry swinging the sledge hammer.

Have you ever had such a bad day, or been so angry that you just wanted to smash something? But you stopped yourself because as adults we can’t just throw a tantrum and smash something. Or, can we?

Rage rooms, also known as smash rooms, have become increasingly popular in recent years. With the pressures of work, school, and especially with COVID, people now more than ever are looking for a way to blow off some steam — and a rage room may be the perfect solution.

My daughter, Bella, 14, and I recently visited Demolition Zone, one of just three rage rooms in Oregon, to check it out for ourselves.

Located at 4075 Franklin Blvd in Eugene, Demolition Zone is celebrating their four-year anniversary this year. 

“My husband came up with the idea,” said Helen Urban, who co-owns Demolition Zone with her husband, Jeremy Urban. “I was tired of my day job and one night we were just looking at videos and saw a rage room in Japan. It was an ‘aha’ moment.”

A Rage Room session for two people costs $60 and lasts up to an hour. 

When you enter the building, it looks more like a thrift shop than what you’d imagine a rage room to look like. The “shop” at the front is filled with shelves full of old china, glassware, electronics and knick-knacks. But unlike the wares at a traditional thrift store, these items will never make it out of the building intact. 

Urban greeted us from behind her desk in the front of the shop, helped us fill out our waivers, asked what type of music we’d like played (my daughter chose Eminem, but heavy metal is the most popular,) and asked if we’d like to purchase any add-on items for our session. Each session comes with a set number of items for participants to smash. A two person session includes:

  • One large electronic
  • One medium electronic
  • Misc. small electronic
  • Misc. other small items like clay pigeons, VHS tapes, Christmas ornaments, and more. 

“My absolute favorite thing to smash is VHS tapes,” Urban said.  “If you hit them just right they explode and make a big mess with the tape inside.” 

In addition to the included items, participants can choose to purchase add-ons from anything on display in the store. Things like TV’s, keyboards, and even more VHS tapes. My personal favorite were the glass items. (Once you hear the sound of smashing glass, you’ll get it.) 

Once we’d chosen our add-ons, Urban led us to the back of the shop and went over the rules with us. We each removed our loose articles and secured them in a locker before selecting a pair of coveralls, a face shield, and a pair of gloves to wear for protection in the rage room. 

The room was small with walls covered in bright graffiti. On the back wall where we entered was a shelf containing our smashable items, and a rack which held our smashing instruments — lead pipes, metal bats, and pipe wrenches, among other things. In the center of the room were two platforms constructed of old tires with plywood squared on top, and beyond them was a piece of plywood on the floor.

“Smash things towards the far wall,” Urban instructed us. “And if you want to use the sledge hammer, place your item on the board on the floor and smash it there, not on the platforms. Have fun!” 

Urban left the room and a few minutes later the voice of Eminem erupted loudly from the speakers. Then the smashing began. 

If you’re like me, and most people according to Urban, who do this not for the possible therapeutic benefits, but just for the fun experience, the act of smashing something may seem extremely foreign and even kind of wrong. But as soon as I heard the first cracking sound of glass hitting the wall followed by the tinkling of a million small shards cascading to the floor as it shattered, I was hooked. 

My daughter and I spent an hour throwing clay birds at the wall, beating stereo equipment with a sledge hammer, and smashing VHS tapes, small glass bottles, and old records to oblivion. When the last item had been destroyed, I looked around at the room strewn with bits and pieces of broken junk and felt strangely satisfied.

If you’re interested in trying a Rage Room, you can book an appointment with Demolition Zone for one to six people. They’re open Friday through Sunday from Noon to 8PM. 

Happy smashing!