Lasertag - Sport or Adventure Game? The answer is both. It is implicitly a sport. It requires, agility, fitness, speed, accuracy and tactical awareness and is a highly competitive activity. But it is not just a sport. It is a chance to let your imagination run wild with atmospheric imagery and the opportunity to enact scenarios only people in movies normally do. Themeing is the route to opening up this whole world of potential within Lasertag.
DarkLight are the keenest advocates of variable themes. Themes can be achieved by any means which give atmospheric character to the environment. Animatronics arena characters, lighting and sound effects combined with artwork, optical illusions, spatial shapes like doorways and obstacles are just some of the ways of implementing themes. There can be multiple themes in different zones. The themes can be controlled by GEMs to be interactive in relation to the game or of a more generalistic nature. The effect of themes on the environment is crucial in taking the game to the next level in suspension of disbelief and scripted adventure games become more real. It is all very well telling a player to accept that they have been zapped by an alien when they have just been tagged by a LED number on the wall. But if it is actually convincing and looks, moves and sounds like an alien and lurks in an area which feels right, then the amount of explaining needed to convince them that it is an alien disappears and the impression it leaves is one of wonderment and excitement. This is the basic concept that separates playing in battle scenarios in the Holodeck (Star Trek) from holding a twig and pretending to shoot your friends with it. The more real it feels, the more intuitive it is and the less explaining it needs, the more you can do with it and the more powerful an experience it is. That strength of experience affects how much enjoyment it can generate which then affects how much revenue can be made. Themes are the way forward and whilst you can get away without themeing, you limit your options without it.
When we design arenas we try to facilitate many potential scripts within our themed zones so that the scripts can be changed without major construction. There are generic environments which can be applied to many different themes such as caves which are timeless and so can be post-apocalyptic or neanderthal. They can easily depict different scenarios like where a dragon lives or a route under a lava flow to the centre of the Earth. Dark Age themes work well because of their flexibility; medieval knights or jedi, Tolkien or Star Wars. They can be applied to both old and futuristic environments and there are thousands of different scripts and characters common to many cultures that can be incorporated. Industrial warehouse atmospheres are easy to create with ambient sounds, pulse lighting and haze and can again be used to depict many scripted themes. There are many more generic environments, and if just a few are used, the result should be an arena where you can easily implement different convincing themes. As an operator, by introducing different themes from time to time, you can promote new game types with new promotional campaigns to increase repeat custom.
Themeing is something which can be done to suit any budget. It can be done simply and cheaply with some simple artwork and lighting effects or it can involve highly interactive moving parts and spectacular special effects. Whatever the scale of themeing you choose, DarkLight can design it to suit the needs of your operation.
Camelot at "Illusionz" Magical Entertainment Centre, Seattle, USA
Atlantis at "Aquatica", Milano, Italy
Elemental at "Toy Town", Damman, Saudi Arabia
©2012 DarkLight Developments Ltd