To Infinity and Beyond!
Laserforce Elevates Tag Experience with Gen 8 System
With its first major overhaul since 2013, Laserforce has stepped it up for laser tag operators and players with its new Gen 8 Infinity system, being revealed early this month. It’s heady times at the longtime laser tag manufacturer as the team at the Brisbane, Australia, Laserforce International HQ, along with those at its U.S. home in Loveland, Colo., are celebrating the company’s 30th anniversary in addition to the introduction of the new system.
With a feature set that is extensive and robust, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Willy told RePlay Gen 8 “is something truly game changing.” Starting with the vests, players will find them to be more streamlined with a larger neck opening, something that will make them more comfortable for older players, but still a good fit for the younger set. The phaser has gotten a redesign as well, now looking more like a weapon you’d see in a sci-fi video game like Destiny or Halo.
“It’s definitely more futuristic and sexy,” Willy said. “We’ve also introduced rubber overmolding so it’s a little more comfortable to hold; that design element carries through the vest as well. Everything is more modern, sleek and attractive. When you hold a Gen 8 vest up next to a Gen 7, it’s a night-and-day difference. I think all other laser tag equipment looks retro compared to it.”
“Infinity Lighting” is also making its debut in Gen 8. “When you look at laser tag equipment today, you see individual LEDs, and on the vests, for example, you’ll see they blink with whatever your team color is,” Willy explained. “We’ve eliminated those individual LEDs with our new vest so now you just see colors. This lets us use some really amazing effects.”
With Gen 8, gone are the days of just “red team” vs. “green team” vs. “blue team.” Here comes “fire team” vs. “earth team” vs. “rainbow team” and so on. On the phasers, the lighting isn’t just red, but might have a fire or flame effect. There’s a unique glow to the Laserforce vests as well. “It’s not just where you see the plastics lighting up,” Willy said. “The vest fabric itself gets illuminated. It’s something that just doesn’t exist anywhere else right now.”
That’s all very cool, but it gets better. For the first time in Laserforce history, they’ve added a 3-1/2” screen to the phaser, making it what they say is the largest on-phaser screen in the industry. While one other supplier has a touchscreen on theirs, Willy said what sets the Laserforce model apart is that it is capacitive, just like on a cell phone. Willy said. “This is going to let us do some really, really neat things gameplay-wise for players.”
Players can see their avatars, their profiles and all sorts of in-game data. “You can activate abilities from it, customize your battle suit, you name it –– all right from the phaser with simple swipes or scrolls with your fingers,” Willy enthused.
“And then we’ve introduced a five-inch color screen on the chest, which is another exclusive feature we’ve added to Gen 8. That screen can show your code name, the player avatar, as well as your site logo if you want it to,” Willy said. Background animations are featured, as well as a cool effect that happens whenever you get tagged. It all adds to the fun and possibilities (like on-screen happy birthday graphics, zombies for Halloween games, and so on).
Another innovation is the addition of a built-in flashlight (called a “torchlight” since Laserforce is an international company) that players can toggle on and off in certain game modes. For example, you might be in the “Zombies vs. Survivors” battle and turn the lights down in the arena so players are moving about relying on their flashlights, or if they are maneuvering around a spooky haunted house.
Add to all that some new weapons, wide-angle burst mode and other gameplay features to make the game more exciting for players and you have a good overview of what the new Laserforce system offers.
“We’ve put things into the Gen 8 platform that will make it easier to upgrade later. It’s capable of doing a ton, enabling us to add to Gen 8 over the next decade,” Willy said. “There are a number of features to the hardware we haven’t even unveiled yet and people who add Gen 8 to their sites will get upgrades they can’t even imagine today.”
By the way, current Laserforce customers won’t need to start over if they have an older system, Willy explained, noting that some of their software and other components can carry over. The company also has a “loyalty program” to make updating more affordable.
When does Gen 8 officially roll out? It will begin shipping widely in September, said Willy, however, between the June reveal and September, Laserforce owner Len Kelly will upgrade his Australian location with Gen 8, as will the German sales team and Willy’s in Colorado. Some early adopters that previewed the new system at IAAPA last year are also lined up to receive it before September.
“We’re expecting high demand for the new system,” Willy said. “We know the number of systems we’re selling to people right now who are opening up new locations, and we anticipate that to only grow. We also have a lot of customers who bought Laserforce five, 10 or even more years ago who’ve been waiting to upgrade, holding out for our next system. I wouldn’t be surprised if our demands double when Gen 8 rolls out. We’re already planning to increase production to meet that demand.”
As Laserforce marks its 30th anniversary this year, the Gen 8 Infinity system is giving them even more to celebrate.
Visit Laserforce online at www.laserforcetag.com