When these came out in the late 1980’s I really wanted a set, but there were two drawbacks. First they cost a fair whack, and secondly you really needed a group of friends with them to make it worthwhile. Suffice to say I never got a Laser Tag set, but that was OK, as since then I’ve had the chance to play the game in places such as Laser Quest and Quasar, and I’m pretty rubbish at it.
Laser Tag was a laser gun game (of course, it didn’t actually use lasers but infra red, something like the system used by TV remote controls – Infra Red Tag doesn’t sound quite so cool though does it?) where each player carried their own laser gun and wore a vest with a sensor on it. The idea was to fire your gun at your opponent’s sensor in order to take one of their lives, without getting shot yourself. A bit like paintball but less messy and a lot less painful when you get shot by some idiot in the knee cap or nether regions…
The packaging and advertising for Laser Tag was, as you might suspect, a very futuristic affair with people shown running around in a variety of Bladerunneresque costumes consisting of lots of lycra and body armour, shooting each other in some science fiction themed warehouse setting. Contrast that to Peter and Billy running up and down the street with only lamp posts for cover and wearing the sensor over their school uniform. Not quite the same, but then that’s why we’re given imaginations, isn’t it?
Surprisingly enough, you can still get Laser Tag sets today, and it seems they’ve made them even more sophisticated. I think I prefer the sleek looking laser guns of the original sets to the rather overly complicated guns they seem to favour today, but the sensor now look a little more exciting, with some extra body armour moulded on.