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How Much Does It Cost to Play Laser Tag?

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Have you been wondering how much it might cost to play laser tag? Getting out with friends or family for a game of laser tag could be lots of fun!

If it's cold or raining outside, then laser tag is an excellent activity to burn off some energy, run around and see how many people you can tag with your laser gun!

And... It’s not just for kids! Plenty of adults go out for laser tag outings and parties mainly because it’s a blast for everyone involved. How much does it cost to play laser tag?

The standard pricing for the industry is $1 per minute at an indoor venue and .50 cents per minute on an outdoor battlefield. Most establishments divide their games into fifteen-minute sessions.

 A lot of players can purchase packages, depending on the venue. For instance, you can purchase four fifteen-minute games at a venue for $60 or $30 outdoors. Some businesses will offer deals, as well.

The more games you purchase, the better the price and sometimes free games are even added to the package. Depending on how much playtime you want to get in, there are various options sure to please any laser tag player. And the bigger the group, the better the price.

 A Little Bit of Laser Tag History

The inventor of laser tag was a gentleman named George Carter III. The idea came to George in the year 1977 after seeing Star Wars: Episode IV. This makes tons of sense since the Star Wars franchise has created an innumerable number of off-shoots due to the love for the series of movies and shows. With a similar concept within the plot of the movie, George set out to create a real-life version for people to play.

But it wasn’t until 1984 that the first laser tag company opened commercially to the public. In 1977, the technology was still being formulated by the armed forces for military uses.

It wasn’t until 1979 that the first commercially available toy gun that used an infrared laser became available. Ironically enough, that toy was called the Star Trek Electronic Phaser Gun. Major television and movie productions had a certain way of weaving their way into the laser tag history.

In 1984, the first laser tag facility opened to the public and was named Photon. This pioneer facility of the game was opened in Austin, TX. But in 1986, they faced stiff competition from a new rival, Worlds of Wonder.

World of Wonder came hard with their marketing campaign, calling laser tag the “game of the twenty-first century”. This served to pique the interest of plenty of new players. 

Photon did well to hold onto their loyal fanbase in the face of the new adversary; both establishments had their own unique marketing ploys. Worlds of Wonder claimed that future disputes could be settled by using laser tag and even had an animated series titled Laser Tag Academy.

On the other side of the coin, Photon had various types of merchandise players could purchase along with novels centered around the game.

Yet all good things had to come to an end. In 1987, the Black Monday stock market crash forced Worlds of Wonder to close it doors to the public. Photon ended up getting themselves into some hot water due to their distributor of merchandise, Entertech.

At the time, they thought it would be a good idea to create water guns that resemble actual handguns with a real look. Unfortunately, this led to the guns being used in armed robberies, thus contributing to the choice to close their doors in the end. 

Although many consumers felt that the world of laser tag would serve to be a fad, the game was revived shortly thereafter through the 1990’s and into today.

Even now, plenty of laser tag venues still exist and offer updated versions of the game from the past. With all the technological evolutions that have taken place, the game is even more fun than ever.

Equipment and Technology

In order to play the game correctly, special equipment formulated through technology is required. Without a special setup, it’s not possible to play laser tag. These are some of the items that are used in a typical game at most facilities.

Rifles and/or Handguns

Depending on the facility, you may have a choice to use a handgun or rifle. Some facilities carry only one or the other to promote an environment of fairness for all players.

Depending on which you have at your disposal, you will either be presented with a laser gun that can be used with one hand (handgun) or both hands (rifle).

Each unit sends out an infrared beam when fired that connects with an opposing vest unit to simulate a “kill.”

Vest Units

These contraptions are used to register a laser when it hits. If you have been shot, the vest will signify that you have been hit and “killed.”

Most games will allow you a certain amount of times you can be shot, or one-hit kills. Most vest units wrap around the front of the body and are strapped in the back.

Or the slide down over the head and shoulders to be strapped to the body at the bottom of the unit itself.

Barriers & Enclosures

Without a fair number of obstacles to make the game interesting, it would not be nearly as much fun. Depending on the venue, some places will have actual buildings and enclosures to make the game fun.

A lot of indoor venues have integrated huge, inflatable obstacles similar to what you might see on a show like American Gladiators. 

Utilizing every part of the equipment is important because the game can’t be played without them. There are various companies that offer laser tag equipment that is available to the public.

A nice perk to the majority, if not all of the venues open to the public, is that they rent the equipment to players. A lot of the places you can find will include the equipment in their pricing for games.

Specialty Games

Laser tag has a number of specialty games that are played throughout many of the venues that exist. It helps to keep things interesting and even more fun for players. These are just some of the various specialty games that are currently played in the world of laser tag.

Capture the Flag

Just like it sounds, it’s the same game we all used to play when we were kids… except with laser tag. The opposing team tries to venture into the opposing team’s territory to find their flag and “capture” it. But you must get it all the way back to your own side in order to win.

Protect the VIP

Each team chooses a “VIP” that they will need to hide for a set period of time. The goal of each team is to find the opponent’s VIP and take them out with your laser gun. Some variants of the game have the VIP performing specific actions in order to be “evacuated” from their side.

Stealth/Invisibility Matches

Most laser tag vests have lights that show opponents where you are since the venue will be dark a lot of the time. Invisibility matches turn off vest lights so no one can identify each other by them. Seek out opponents in the dark without any way of seeing them and then use your laser gun to take them out.

Base-centric Matches

This version has each team using players to protect their base while the opposing team protects theirs. Essentially, a team will need to choose which players will protect the base and which players will head out after the opponent’s base. 

Juggernaut Matches

One player is randomly chosen as the “juggernaut” and must do everything they can to stay alive. Once the juggernaut is eliminated, the opposing player who got the hit will then become the new juggernaut. These matches are similar to domination style laser tag games.

Elimination Games

Elimination games are a style of laser tag where each player has a set number of “lives.” Once you are shot that many times, you’re out. A Battle Royale (every man for themselves) setup is used in many of these games while also mixing the domination style game to prevent players from “camping” (staying in one place).

Evacuation Matches

In this game, one team will not have the ability to respawn. So, once you’re dead, you’re done. That team will have to face an infinite number of opponents that will keep coming for a set amount of time. 

Role-Playing Games

Each player’s equipment will perform a specific function in these games. For example, medic, ammo carrier, scout, heavy weapons, or commander are some of the examples of specific roles you can take on as a player.

 Shoot-out at the OK Corral

Players all line-up shoulder to shoulder on each side in two teams, six feet away from each other. Everyone only has one life, to begin with, and the side that has players left in the end is the champion.

With so many variations on the game, there are tons of ways to keep things interesting. Many of the venues that are open to public playing have a lot of these games available. It all boils down to what you’re looking to play as a team and how many people you have involved. There are always going to be ways to keep things fun and exciting, so they don’t get boring playing the same game every time.

Laser Tag Tournaments and Leagues

Competitive play is not outside the realm of possibility in laser tag. That is competitive play for prizes. Tournaments are held all around the world and offer cash prizes along with other prizes for winners.

Some of the players have even been playing professionally for over twenty-five years. And that’s not to say that tournaments aren’t open to newer players either. People of all ages and experiences have entered tournaments to try their hand at the competition.

A lot of venues also offer leagues to the players who play competitively on a regular basis. For the true hard-core player of laser tag, leagues will meet weekly to play against other teams within the league.

At the end of the season, a separate tournament will be held a lot of the time to determine a champion. Large pots and prizes are typically involved for the winner by combining part everyone’s payments to be play during the season.

You can check into your local laser tag facilities to determine what kind of leagues and tournaments are offered. You may be surprised by what’s available at a place not far from where you live.

Most of the league play and tournaments will have special days and times during the week to hold league play. Each league season will also have a set number of months that teams will meet to play every week, typically lasting around three or four months.

Laser Tag Parties

Both kids and adults can benefit from this one, so don’t go thinking a laser tag party is just for kids. Yes, a laser tag birthday party for a bunch of kids is an amazing idea. But adults love laser tag parties, too.

Whether it’s for a birthday, a congratulatory celebration, or just for plain fun, a party is a great way to have a lot of fun and save some money if you’re splitting the cost between players.

When scheduling a party at your favorite laser tag facility, you can block out a special day and time. Then you can figure out exactly how many hours everyone wants to play.

Depending on how long your party will play, you may even be able to find an “all you can play” deal where you get to fit in as many games as possible before time is up. Even deals that determine the exact number of games ahead of time can provide price breaks if everyone chips in.

The more, the merrier when it comes to a laser tag party. Getting all your friends together to go out and play is a great time.

Especially when you can gather enough friends together to create both teams when playing games of opposition, with an ability to then choose any specialty games you may want to play, you can set up the outing exactly how you want to without having to worry about other parties disagreeing with your choices. 

A lot of venues will even let you work food into the pricing as well. Special packages for bigger groups of people are available at plenty of venues.

So, you’ll be able to determine how you want your games set up, along with your food options and whatever else you may want to include in the package you choose for your party. 

The whole idea is great for doing something “different.” It can be a little monotonous when you and your friends go out doing the same things all the time. Why not get everyone together to try something a little outside the norm of your typical social activities?

Summary

We have so many choices among us for recreation. Some activities we have gone out and done a million times. Other activities may be some we have never tried before.

Laser tag serves to be an activity not everyone has tried, but many have. The common mindset is that it is a ton of fun, no matter who you are. Even if you’re an adult, embrace that inner child of yours by going out and going something with your friends, you might not typically do.

Laser tag facilities are everywhere; we just have to look for them. Many huge gaming facilities like Dave & Busters will sometimes offer laser tag as well. Bringing an environment of tons of different games and options to the table.

There is a special type of excitement you can have by playing at an indoor venue with all the different lights and sounds that make the experience a unique one.

And don’t forget about the outdoor venues either. There is a great opportunity to turn an outdoor arena into a laser tag course with tons of different things to hide behind, old abandoned buildings to run through, obstacles to climb over.

The possibilities are endless, and a lot of paintball venues are also home to laser tag. Some people may not prefer the sting of a paintball, but have no issue going out and using lasers for a similar type of fun.

No matter where you choose to go, the choices are endless, and the fun is intact. Do yourself a favor and head out there with some friends to play laser tag. Even if you have never played or it’s been forever, there is a lot to be said about the enjoyment.

I know that I have personally never had a bad time while playing laser tag, and I’m fairly certain that neither will you.

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