Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Look at Modern-Day Laser Tag

Laser Tag is a fun, non-contact sport with its origins in combat training. Laser tag perhaps reached its peak in the 1980’s in popularity; however, it’s seen a revitalization in this decade as well due to advancements in equipment and the explosion in popularity of “first person shooter” video games.

When one thinks of “laser tag” cheesy weapons, gaudy outfits and facilities with neon lights often come to mind. That’s just not the case any longer. Modern day facilities offer experiences similar to what law enforcement or military personnel use. Individuals are given a blaster or infrared emitting weapon that tags a sensor on another participant. Advancements in weaponry have come a long way since the 80’s but the basic premise is still the same. Players wear infrared-sensitive instruments; generally, these targets are integrated into vests that register points when tagged. Sometimes these targets are even incorporated with the gaming arena, depending on the mechanics of the chosen adventure. Some people see it as a safe and appealing pastime, while others enjoy getting family or friends together for an adventure.

Laser Tag – What’s the Point?
The principal intent is to score points for you and your team by tagging the challenger; normally sensors are found on the front and back of their vest and on the laser guns themselves. You should avoid being tagged, because aside from giving them more counts, usually this renders you immobile and unable to use your equipment for a few seconds, or in other cases indicates that you are out of the game.

The regulations vary from each activity, but these are general guidelines one might expect to see at a modern-day laser tag arena:

Laser Tag – The Rules
Physical contact must be avoided.

One must be cautious when moving around the amusement area and handling the tools and outfit. One must be careful not to damage the gear or facilities.

Medical conditions that may affect one during the activity must be disclosed. Some battlegrounds employ flashing lights, fog machines, and other paraphernalia to make the experience more entertaining but could agitate some allergy or launch some condition like asthma or epilepsy.

There are also codes of conduct players have come to abide by making for a fair and fruitful competition.

Rough housing is never favored. This is a game and it should be fun.

Participants should not block their sensors, detach the targets, or some other scheme to make it difficult for the opponent to tag them.

Make sure that your device and suit is working, that the sensors are turned on and functioning.
If there is malfunctioning gears, one must inform the conductor and participants of the situation and get out of the game until it is resolved.

Laser tag, as a sport, isn’t what it used to be, that’s for sure. But not all facilities are created equal. If you’re up for some modern-day first-person combat simulation, be sure you choose the right facility with the most modern equipment, adequate combat space and the proper rules and employees to enforce those rules.

Image by mek22 via Flickr.

About the Author:
Daniel Ruyter lives in the Orlando, Florida area and frequents Hard Knocks - Orlando's best laser tag facility.

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