The Evolution and Future of Laser Tag

When people think about laser tag, they sometimes think of the old school 90’s, neon glowing experience. The reality is: the game of laser tag has changed.

When our Founder, Jeff Schilling, started our company back in 1997, he was set on completely overhauling the laser tag experience for players. Back then, laser tag was a very basic game played inside of 4 black walls. The props in the arena were minimal, technology was rudimentary, and the experience was…middling.

But, the concept of laser tag was such a new and exciting game back then that its popularity still flourished. Especially in the last few years, our company and many others in the industry have taken the laser tag experience to the next level. In fact, if you took a kid from 1995, fresh off a game of laser tag, and dropped that person into one of our new arenas today, they probably wouldn’t even recognize it as a laser tag arena.

All of this is a good thing, by the way! These days, laser tag is an experience, rather than a game. Technology and creative advances have made the game an incredible journey that impresses young children, older folks, and everyone in between. In fact, we hear it all the time. People who have not played laser tag in many years experience a game in one of our arenas and walk out with their mind blown at how much the game has changed.

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In our development of laser tag, we’ve focused closely on the 3 pillars of an attraction experience: story-driven, immersive and social. These 3 pillars are what make great attractions desirable for guests and drive repeat play.

This is not your father’s laser tag anymore. So, we’re going to break down exactly how the game has changed and cover some of the newest features of laser tag. Whether you’ve played a new laser tag arena recently or not, we’re sure you’re going to learn something new!

An Immersive, Story-Driven Experience

Our slogan (as you probably know) is, “We create powerful emotions and memories through immersive attractions.” As you also (hopefully) know, laser tag is our bread and butter. So naturally, we’ve worked hard to make laser tag an immersive story that everyone can enjoy.

Speaking of stories, that’s exactly what laser tag games have become: a story-driven experience where you’re the hero. With the rise in popularity of video games and their story-driven adventures, we sought out to create something similar for our laser tag arenas. Yes, we even created an arena inspired by the popular video game Destiny.

Laser tag is a rare attraction where every single player can be the “hero” of the “story.” Instead of just a black room with a few maze panels, laser tag experiences have developed into full-on narratives where the players control the outcome and can feel like they’re the champion.

Exploring Another World

It’s not just the storyline either. Players FEEL like they are actually exploring another world while playing the game. Better blacklight murals and paintings and more intricate props that POP more have helped position laser tag as a more fully immersive experience.

Another technological advancement in the last handful of years has been the incorporation of interactive targets and props into arenas. Large props and targets in the arena can now be wired to allow players to shoot at them. When a player hits one of these targets, they get points and the target may flash and make a noise.

Interactive props and targets are perfect for the slower times when you don’t have as many players, because participants can “play against the arena” in addition to playing against each other. Additionally, DMX lighting and sounds have come a long way and add to the immersion.

Projection mapping is another factor that has helped increase the immersion. If you’re unfamiliar with projection mapping, allow Wikipedia to explain: “Projection mapping is a projection technique used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into display surfaces for video projection.” Check out the video below to see how projection mapping works.

Briefing and Vesting Will Never Be the Same

One of the biggest ways that we have increased immersion on our laser tag arenas is through our new launch rooms.

Oftentimes, entertainment operators (and customers) think the briefing and vesting steps are the “boring” parts of laser tag they have to do before they can have fun in the arena. But when done right, the briefing/vesting room can create an experience, engage guests, and bring a whole new level of excitement. This is why we developed our new Laser Tag Launch Rooms.

These launch rooms integrate video, lighting and atmospheric effects to level up the storytelling and build anticipation prior to the game. After a little show, a hidden door is opened and players go into the arena to begin the game. These rooms can be incorporated into existing laser tag attractions, or built as part of a brand new attraction. Bottom line: they take the experience to a WHOLE new level for players.

Break the Box

As mentioned above, laser tag has always been a game played inside a box. A lot of times, guests may not even know that you have a laser tag, because the attraction is stuck in the corner behind dark walls.

Additionally, laser tag can only be experienced by the players inside the game. What about the older parents and grandparents who want to be a part of the experience and watch their kids have an amazing time while playing?

We found a way to solve both of these problems: open-concept laser tag.

We’ve developed a way to bring laser tag into the rest of your facility by knocking down one of the walls. Now, parents and your other guests can watch and experience the laser tag game from outside the arena. Plus, your laser tag attraction becomes more of a show that will draw other players over.

And yes, lights, lasers, fog, music, and sounds can all still be part of the experience, albeit potentially at a lower output than traditional laser tag. But for many operators, the benefits outweigh the slight drawbacks.

The Future of Laser Tag

So, we’ve covered lots of new laser tag concepts that have made the game more entertaining over the last few years. But the more fun question is, where is laser tag going? What is the future???

The future can be tough to predict. Laser tag will likely look even more different in the year 2032. Our best guess? It all comes back to the 3 pillars of a great attraction:

The future of laser tag will involve integrating technology in smart ways to make the attraction more story-driven, social, and immersive.

One example of this is a ground-breaking attraction that we’ve been working on for years: Limitless VR.

In the simplest terms, Limitless is a laser tag-virtual reality hybrid that gives you 2 attractions in 1: a more traditional laser tag experience, and an untethered free-roam VR laser tag experience.

Limitless is a bridge between the virtual and physical worlds. When you see and touch a wall in the virtual space, you feel the wall in the real world. With high-throughput, the option to switch between regular and virtual laser tag, and the ability to switch virtual laser tag themes with the press of a button, Limitless is an anchor attraction that lets you maximize revenue and get the most out of both attractions.

Where do YOU think laser tag is going? The game that so many of us grew up playing has created so many memories for all of us over the years. One thing’s for sure: laser tag isn’t going anywhere. And we can’t wait to see what the future of the attraction holds.

We want to help you bring laser tag to your business so that your guests can create lifelong memories. Learn more about Limitless VR, or any information about our laser tag, by clicking the button below.