- Laser Tag, which uses light transmitting guns and jackets that detect hits.
- Paintball, which actually fires a paint projectile and thus needs protective equipment for you to play.
- The less physically active computer games in the First Person Shooter category
- And now S.A.T.R. Gaming Guns which is an improved version of Laser Tag with no need for the jacket and the ability to play indoor or out and even in full sunshine.
The new technology of Gaming Guns meets and surpasses the previous technologies in many areas and as the system is developed, we should see new features that cover some of the areas not yet covered in computer games.
With the new detectors on your head gear and on the gun, The requirement for wearing the vest is a thing of the past. Now you can step out in your favourite clothing without the restrictions of the heavy vest which discouraged lying on the ground.
Because there is no physical projectile like paintball, eye protection is not a serious concern, although a pair of “sunnies” is probably a good idea for outdoor play. The full face mask is no longer required.
Indeed there are several big improvements over paintball. Firstly, you are not facing a charge per bullet. In traditional paintball, you buy a certain number of projectiles and when they run out it’s time to spend more money to stay in the game.
Secondly, there is no bruising from being hit by the pellets. With the scoring being registered by light in the infrared range, the only bruises you get are from stumbling into the furniture or other players. At Horsham LaserTag we are using the inflatable walls so there is not much chance of bruising in our arena.
Over the traditional Laser Tag, another big advantage is being able to play outdoors in full sunlight. And with a range out to 300 meters, a much bigger play area is possible.
Over computer gaming the advantage is getting out of your comfy chair and getting some exercise with real people face to face. An additional benefit that just occurred to me is you are playing a game with the blood options selected to OFF.
In the paintball area I guess the effect of actually seeing the impact of your shots appear on your opponent is gone. Replaced by a glowing LED on the head gear. Hard core gamers will probably miss this.
FPS games do have advantages over this system in a number of areas. Firstly complexity. There is simply no way I can think of to simulate dropping from a spaceship onto a new planet. (Other than having the Missus stand behind me and thumping me with a shovel to simulate re-entry turbulence).
Secondly, number of gamers. We have 24 gaming guns on site which is well and truly enough for for our arena but well short of the big numbers in say, Battlefield Bad Company 2 which has somewhere around 64 players per game.
So there you have a quick overview. S.A.T.R. is a great leap forward in gaming fun and with scenarios based on modern computer games, the future looks bright.
Come on down to Horsham LaserTag with your friends to try the system and see if your team has what it takes.