Monday, October 26, 2009

Lazer Tag (Worlds of Wonder)



Lazer Tag
Worlds of Wonder
1986 - 1988


The 1980's were a different time. Pop rock was ablaze across pretty much every 80's radio station. Barriers with foreign countries were being broken, and even better, it was okay for kids to play with toy guns. Yes, back then you could still walk into your local K-Mart and buy a cap gun that actually looked like a real gun. As we ran around our yards, and even more socially unacceptable today, our entire neighborhoods, we would have a blast (no pun intended) pretending we were shooting the hell out of each other. It was fun, and it was safe. Boy, those times have changed.

In 1986, Worlds of Wonder introduced us to this great new way to play with guns. Lazer Tag was essentially "light guns", known as the StarLyte (pistol) and StarLyte Pro (rifle), that used the same technology as your TV remote control. It fired a coded pulse of infrared light (outside the spectrum visible to humans) which causes the detector to react.

Rather than running around shouting, "Hey, I shot you!" Only to be told, "No you didn't!" Lazer Tag provided you with a clip on target (StarSensor) which settled the arguments of whether or not you truly had been blasted. The targets also kept score and after so many hits taken would produce a "game over" sound, at which point one would need to reset it.

Even if you didn't have a friend to play with, Worlds of Wonder released a stationary target which could be set up anywhere and used to play single player known as the StarBase. This was also a great training accessory to help you become a better shot with the StarLyte.

They even produced a walkie taklie for people who split up into teams (StarTalk) to play.

For those who really wanted to get into it, you could also deck yourself out with the StarHelmet or StarCap. Each provided you with more sound effects and also provided your opponent with more targets to shoot at. A StarVest was also produced, which did away with the clip on StarSensor which was prone to fall off while running.

While the official Lazer Tag brand fizzled out as the 90's rounded on the world, there have been several incarnations of it from various companies. There have even been specialty shops opened across the U.S. that have arenas set up that you can rent the equipment and play in. Worlds of Wonders even produced an updated look to the guns in the lat 90's known as the Deluxe Kit. At this time however, the market was so oversaturated with guns like this, and while units sold well, it was not well enough to come anywhere close to what the 1980's versions sold when first introduced.

Today it's very difficult to find mint in box Lazer Tag items, and even when you do, they aren't guaranteed to be in working condition. The StarLyte Pro (rifle) seems to be the most difficult item to track down in a mint condition sealed box.

To go back to a time where playing with guns was socially acceptable (and to an extent, safer) would be fantastic. But, at least for now children of the 80's still have their memories.

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2 comments:

  1. I am looking for a manual for the Starlyte Pro Fifle. Any ideas where I may be able to find a PDF of get a copy of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The folks at Lazer Tag Museum might be able to help you. Unfortunately we don't have one that we could scan.

      Delete

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