Tactical laser tag is an emerging activity rapidly growing in popularity. There are as many styles, or flavors, for this emerging sport as there are names for it; outdoor laser tag, laser combat, laser skirmish, industrial laser tag, electronic paintball and variants of such. While the activity is growing, with both consumer and commercial equipment being readily available, the biggest hindrance to the growth of the sport is the lack of a coherent development strategy. The Tactical Laser Tag Group has been formed to correct this situation.
Advances in technology have freed laser tag from the dark confines of a dark small indoor arena, and allows it to compete, in what was previously the domain of paintball and airsoft, with distinct advantages over both. Modern laser tag “Taggers”, the laser tag equivalent to the paintball “Marker”, have advantages in range and accuracy with scoring and anti-cheat features built into the system. Additionally, game parameters can be configured to set up different game scenarios or missions, bringing to life the video game experiences today's youth have grown up with.
While audio, visual and sometimes tactile feedback keeps the adrenalin flowing in a laser tag game, there are no projectiles, making laser tag inherently safer than either paintball or airsoft for the tactical action game participants, spectators, or passersby. The lack of painful hits, bruises and lingering welts, associated with paintballs and airsoft pellets, opens laser tag up to younger players and those who are put-off by the pain factor of the projectile based games.
Laser tag is also eye safe, as strangely enough lasers are not used in laser tag (the original use of the term laser was purely a marketing term to make the game sound high tech). The light beam that is emitted from the Tagger is in fact the same Infra Red LED generated beam found in TV remotes, completely harmless and invisible to the naked eye.
The lack of a projectile not only makes laser tag safer for the players, but there is also no need to install safety netting around the playing area as there is with paintball. Laser tag is also environmentally friendly, leaving no paint, paint casings or pellets in the playing area.
The type of land needed for outdoor laser tag is varied and ranges from open fields to wooded/forested areas. In wooded areas the natural flora and terrain provides cover and concealment, and the games tend to be more stealth-like in nature and require a large area (5 – 10 acres, 20 – 60 players). In open fields portable barriers are placed to provide cover. When played in a smaller area (less than 1 acre, 8 – 24 players) the games tend to be of a faster pace and a shorter duration . Games can also be played in a more urban setting, using buildings and equipment for cover, or indoors in industrial warehouses.
Tactical laser tag is a fun, confidence enhancing activity, which builds, develops and reinforces, team interactions and skills. Leveraging off popular video games it promotes physical activity and gets people out of the house and back in touch with nature – providing there are suitable places to play and people to play with.