Laser tag history starts with Star Trek Phaser Guns Game

Being such an exciting game, I thought I would share some information about laser tag history. I first discovered laser tag what feels like eons ago, when I was just a kid. Towards the beginning, laser tag was a two-player game. If you shot each other on the reflective targets you both wore, the guns would make shooting sounds.

Also, don't forget to learn more about laser tag at Maziply.

Laser Tag Invented by U.S. Army

I remember at the time thinking that it would be a brilliant way for the military to train their soldiers. They could wear full-body targets, so the guns would go off even if the other person’s back was turned. This would be the perfect way for a soldier to practice!

I had no idea at the time how right I was, or how backward I had things! As that is exactly where our laser tag history begins...

Laser tag was invented in the 1970s by the U.S. Army for—wait for it—military training purposes! That makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, the infrared lasers are harmless. When paired with detectors, it would be easy for combating squadrons to fight each other under harsh conditions without ever causing bodily harm to each other.

The military has never admitted to handing their soldiers laser guns and telling them to go play with them. They were not focused on how much fun a person could have with a laser gun.

That lack of attention to fun may have been the beginning and the end of laser tag. The general public might never have had the chance to experience this wild and engrossing game. Fortunately for us, knowledge about the laser program leaked. Maybe it was due to soldiers telling their loved ones about the games they were playing. We may never really know.

First Laser Tag Toys

Still, laser tag might never have reached the mainstream at all. It might have lived and died solely as a military training game. However, a space-based tv show and a blockbuster movie caused a frenzy for laser-based toys.

Star Wars was released in 1977 on the heels of what was fast becoming a cult classic tv show—Star Trek. In 1979 the first Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns and Star Trek Super Phaser II Target Game sets were released by competing toy companies.

Older readers might recall first seeing the Star Trek Super Phaser II Target Game set while watching Tom Hanks in the movie ‘Big.’ This is the game I remember playing when I was a kid. Back then, in pre-history, there was no internet. I did not even know I missed out on playing laser tag in an arena until years later. It was a huge disappointment.

The Star Trek Electronic Phaser Guns, developed by the South Bend Toy Company, more closely resembled the game equipment we use today. Each gun had a transmitter and a sensor, so when a target was hit the gun would play a sound effect.

As a huge Trek fan, I cannot be more thrilled to know that laser tag history enjoyed its roots with Star Trek.

First Laser Tag Arena

In 1984, George Carter created the modern laser tag industry when he opened Photon Laser Tag Center in Dallas, Texas.

Inspired by Star Wars, he developed an arena-based scored laser tag game that rapidly rose in popularity. His Photon toys were released two years later and caused such a demand that the market quickly became glutted with laser toys.

Laser Tag History - Almost Literally

A lot of laser toy manufacturing companies went out of business in the early ’90s as the tread turned into a fad. Laser tag arenas slowly went out of business as well. Sadly, that includes the original one started by George Carter.

Laser Tag Resurgence

It is only in more recent years that laser tag came back—again—from the brink of official game extinction, and we are all so glad it did!

Laser tag is now used for fun games, team building exercises, and the best birthday parties. Fed by social media, the industry has seen huge growth in the last few years. New technologies have driven a surge in innovative designs, but the game is still generally played with taggers and receivers. At Maziply Laser Tag, you'll find the latest technology available on the market, as we continue to invest in our arena.

The rise in popularity came in part as a result of a surge of interest in military and combat video games. Laser tag is no longer a child’s game. It is now played just as often by Millennials and Zoomers. Could it be these adults were once the children that drove the original rise in laser tag popularity?

We certainly think so, and we think you’ll agree! The game owes its growing popularity more to the return of the original players to the game as it does to anything else. Now old enough to decide for themselves what to spend their money on, and which video games and ‘toys’ they can have, these gamers now crowd laser tag arenas across the globe.

We hope you'll stop on in to see what makes Maziply Laser Tag one of the best places to play laser tag in the world. If you have any questions about laser tag history, don't be afraid to ask when you visit!

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