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by: -RoG-

Today I'm here to talk to you about Lazer Tag, and how it has changed over the years. First off, I personally like to credit the movie "Tron" for giving people the inspiration to create a game like Lazer Tag. Running around in crazy outfits with lights all over them and shooting lazers... definitely sounds like Tron to me.

As you can see the Tron characters could have easily incorporated the Lazer Tag equipment. Sadly, I've yet to see a Lazer Tag set that includes the "Light Cycles"; but maybe they'll come out with those soon, right?

Now, for those of you that have been living in an Amish community your entire lives and don't know what Lazer Tag is, allow me to explain. In Lazer Tag, you have a gun. Not just any gun... A LAZER GUN! They were called "StarLyte" guns. They just had to spell "Light" as "Lyte", because it just wouldn't be l33t if you spelled it any other way!

You and your opponents have electronic targets that can sense when they're hit by the lazer guns. So you run around like madmen trying to shoot each other. Unfortunately, these lazers aren't the kind that they use in movies to cut through a 4-foot-thick steel door that leads into a vault full of money. No, these lazers are about as powerful as those little pointers that many jackasses use when you're in a theatre. Actually, chances are that YOU are one of those jackasses. 

Admit it, you just love using your little lazer pointer keychain on the movie screen just to make sure the crowd knows where a certain character's crotch or boobs are. Fucker.

Anyway, back to lazer tag. The best Lazer Tag toy set that ever came out was simply called "Lazer Tag", and of course, this means it came out in the 80's. Now we all know that in the 80's one of the biggest shows was Knight Rider. Well, the Lazer Guns that came with the Lazer Tag sets looked just as sleek. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they stripped "Kit" of all his parts just to make these guns. To this day, I've yet to see a better looking Lazer Tag gun than these babies.

It's a good thing they didn't strip David Hasselhoff instead of "Kit" to make the guns. I don't think they would have come out nearly as good, do you?

Now, there were all sorts of accessories that you could get for your Lazer Tag set. Other than the gun, the two things you HAD to have was a "Starvest" and a "StarSensor". The StarSensor kept track of how many times you got hit. The StarVests looked pretty schnazzy too and were designed to hold one StarSensor in the center of the chest. And although I always thought they felt like wearing a life-preserver, I wouldn't recommend stocking up your boat with StarVests. I don't think they're meant to keep you from drowning.

Warning: StarVest does not work as a floatation device.

Next there was the optional StarHelmet and StarCap. The only reason you could possibly want these was to be one hell of a stylin' little biznatch. You had your vest, you had your sensor, you had to have the headgear to make your outfit complete didn't you! Well the StarCap was just a typical baseball cap with a sensor on it. The StarHelmet, however, looks just like the helmets that Luke Skywalker and the other X-Wing pilots wore in Star Wars. Naturally, you felt like shit if you were stuck wearing the StarCap while your friend got to wear the StarHelmet. He got all the girls while he drove around town in his low-rider with his StarHelmet on. While you, pathetic little loser that you were, had to ride around town on your sisters tricycle with your StarCap on, looking like a complete ass. Ok so maybe that didn't happen, but the point is, the StarCap sucked compared to the StarHelmet.

The StarHelmet is quite similar to the X-Wing Pilot helmet. As you can see in the picture above, Red Six (aka: "Porkins") wore his StarHelmet with pride!

Now if you owned the StarCap, chances are you owned the next item: The StarBase. Why did you own the StarBase? Well, if you had the StarCap, chances are you were too unpopular to get anybody else to play Lazer Tag with you. So you had to resort to buying the StarBase, which could defend itself and shoot back at you. Sure, it was "meant" to be used for team play... but come on, admit it. The StarBase has "For lonely kids that own the StarCap" written all over it!

"I'll be your friend since you don't have any." -StarBase

Then there was the baddest of all Lazer Tag weapons: "The StarLyte PRO"! Notice how "PRO" is in all caps to further emphasize just how much this weapon kicked ass? This thing was a huge gun and could hit targets up to 300 feet away! As if that wasn't enough, the mofo had RAPID FIRE on it! This was the "gattling gun" of all Lazer Tag weapons. It's like comparing the NES Advantage controller to the standard ones that came with the NES. You KNOW the guy who got to use the NES Advantage was gonna be the one who would kick ass in the game. Of course, only the rich kids had the StarLyte Pro. But if you were cool, you beat up those rich kids if they didn't let you use the StarLyte PRO while they used the standard StarLyte gun instead. 

If you had this baby, you were pretty much unstoppable against anybody that had the standard StarLyte gun.

Finally, there was StarTalk. They were just yer basic walkie-talkies that were made to look just as sleek as the guns. You were supposed to use them to talk to your teammates, but I never knew anybody that owned these. Rumor has it, they picked up police frequencies and the cops came and gunned some poor kid down because he was saying "Come on! They're on the other side of the house! Let's shoot them!". The cops had no way of knowing the kid was talking about a Lazer Tag game. Ok so that's a lie, but I never used these walkie-talkies so I had to make some bullshit up about them. Sue me.

"10-4, we've got a Lazer Tag homicide here. We thought the kid was actually talking about shooting someone for real. Well, we killed the little bastard."

So there you have all of the gear from the 80's "Lazer Tag" set. It was a lot of fun if you got big games going outdoors. I remember one of the best strategies was to try to chase your opponents out onto the road. Then they'd be too distracted by the oncoming cars to bother shooting back at you. And chances are, if you didn't shoot them, a speeding car would hit them... so either way, your opponent was "out of commission". I also remember trying to cover-up the sensors so they couldn't hit you... but of course they'd have a hissy-fit and call you "CHEATER!" as you gunned their asses down. Good times... 

In the 90's they came out with a bunch of shitty looking Lazer Tag sets. I don't care if they work better or have longer range... they look like shit! And we all know that Lazer Tag is all about how cool you look. Right? RIGHT!

Typical 90's shitty looking Lazer Tag wannabe set.

Although the home-version of Lazer Tag went to shit in the 90's with various cheap imitations, there was something new and fun that came to the world of Lazer Tag: Lazer Tag Arenas! You've probably got one near where you live... in my town it was called "Ultrazone". It was a big lazer tag arena where you would go pay an absurd amount of money to play lazer tag against a bunch of other idiots. Because of the price, I didn't play that often. But Ultrazone sometimes had 3 hours of nonstop play for like 15 bux during late night hours on the weekends. Not a bad deal.

So you'd be given a gun, and a vest, and they'd shove you into this arena with smoke machines, ramps, strobe lights, and horrible music blaring on the speakers. It was your team versus 2-3 other teams. You would try to shoot out the other teams base, while not getting shot to death or letting them invade your base. At the end of the game, the employees would give you print outs of what players you shot and who the top scorers were. This of course led to lot's of shit-talking. Or, if you were an asshole, you could shoot your own teammates a lot and get a NEGATIVE score! I highly recommend doing this AT LEAST once, because seeing how pissed off your teammates can get is truly CLASSIC.

"I am Sphinctarious, lord of all Lazer Tag Arenas!"

Speaking of people taking the game too seriously, I will conclude this piece with a little story about the best Lazer Tag game I ever had. I was at UltraZone with some of my friends and we had been playing for hours. It was already well known that I was a complete asshole when it came to the game. I particularly enjoyed finding out who the top-score holder was and then stalking them the ENTIRE game. So I was stalking this one kid the entire game. He kept yelling at me to leave him alone and to stop stalking him. I must have killed him 20 times while covering up my sensors so he couldn't shoot me back. He kept calling for a referee to make me stop, but that still never stopped me. (yes, sadly there are refs, who can kick you out if their nerdy minds so desire). Now you're not supposed to push people or anything in the game, as they tell you every time before you enter the arena, but me and that kid were about to change this forever.

I shoot him dead for the 25th time or so, and he finally turns around and shoves me. I start laughing my ass off and I shove him back. Then he gets up and hits me in the head with his gun, so I belt him in the chin with mine. Then some more pushing and shoving goes on and we were really going at it until a ref came and stopped the scuffle. It was beautiful, he was so furious. But the best part is, when I came walking out of the arena laughing my ass off, EVERYBODY who was waiting in line to get in looked at me as if I was insane. I didn't realize it, but his gun made a small cut in my forehead which had been bleeding ALL OVER MY FACE! So when I came out of there, I looked like I had just fought World War III all by myself! Everybody was probably thinking, "Jesus Christ! Look at that guy! I think he killed someone in there!" I can't tell you how great it was.

So there you have it. That was the most satisfying game of Lazer Tag I ever played. I think the future of Lazer Tag arenas should be FULL-CONTACT. You sign a waiver before entering that basically says, "My family won't sue your ass if I get killed during the game". Now if I can just raise the money to start my own FULL-CONTACT Lazer Tag Arena, I'll be set for life.

note: As much as we'd like to take the credit for it, I-Mockery will not be held responsible for anybody you kill during future Lazer Tag arena games. 

note #2: Don't forget to hunt for VHS copy of "Lazer Tag Academy: The Battle Hymn of Jaren", the cartoon based on the 80's Lazer Tag Game. 

In this episode, Jamie Jaren, the Lazer Tag Champion of the Universe, goes back in time to the year 1863 to battle arch criminal Draxon Drear, the time-hopping mastermind who is on a quest to conquer the future. Now if that's not entertainment, I don't know what is!

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