It’s been a long time since I have played lazer tag but I am pretty sure that you can still expect to see an arcade as a part of any LT facility out there. It certainly helps pass the time when are sitting around waiting for the next available game to arrive, which in some cases can be hours. If you live in or near Dexter, MI USA then you have a new lazer tag and arcade experience to look forward to as a new company called Lazer Planet will be opening its doors at the end of September. Unfortunately there are no details on what line-up of arcade titles you will find there except for “an array of ticket-redemption video games” but they will feature a modern lazer tag setup by LaZer Runner, a Canadian company that has developed a system that uses “actual laser beams”, as opposed to the standard IR lasers that are used in other setups. This page on the LaZer Runner site gives a rundown as to why IR lasers are generally terrible to use, and how their system differs in not only the lasers used but also with the addition of fiber-optics used in the vests and RF communication. Having worked in a lazer tag facility myself, I understand the many deficiencies most lazer tag equipment carries with it, so it sounds like LaZer Runner has it all figured out. Which is nothing but good news for customers of Lazer Planet.
Speaking of laser products, I wonder if LP will consider adding a Lazer Frenzy game to the facility as well.
More details on the upcoming Lazer Planet can be found here at AnnArbor.com
UPDATE: One laser tag operator e-mailed me to say that “Lazer Runner is the bane of the laser tag industry”. Here’s the other side of the story (and I don’t mean this to reflect poorly on Lazer Planet at all) below
Here are some excerpts of what I was e-mailed, this is from an operator who runs a large lazer tag/arcade facility:
“A lot of what is written on the page you linked to is false or half-true. The glaring problem is that Lazer Runner compares their system to IR technology that’s from the 90’s, yet ignores what current manufacturers are producing when I first took over [my location], I seriously considered going with Lazer Runner (based off of everything I read on their website), only to later find out how misleading most of their claims are.”
He also sent me some video links, which you’ll find below
“The first video is meant to be funny, but it actually highlights a real hazard with one-handed phasers.
“This sounds like a Lazer Runner hate-fest, but they really do bother many laser tag operators. It stinks when someome plays laser tag on a Lazer Runner system, and then think that’s what real laser tag is like. It hurts the whole industry.”
Yikes! The lesson here of course is that it pays to shop around, get input from other laser tag operators and see what system will work best for you. Here’s the videos I was sent