Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Light Strike: My stand on it

I seem to be on a roll with answering off-topic comments in a blog post!  schrublycan asked me what I thought of the latest laser tag system popping up on store shelves.  I could only assume that he meant "Light Strike" by Wowee toys  It's been awhile since I ranted about this system and it's been out for awhile.  So, in a "final nail in the coffin" post for this system, I present to you:  Bazookafied's stand on Light Strike

I've been pretty hard on Light Strike since I first heard about it early in 2011.  When I first saw this video, it pretty much set a bad taste in my mouth.  The claims in the video are just radical.  "It's the first interactive game to bring Video Games in to the real world, live, and in color"... laser tag has been doing that for ages, so Light Strike certainly isn't the first. The options that they boast with the "Super Ammo" that's in the machine gun bipod, or the Scope that gets you up to 100 feet don't sell for me either.  Most laser tag systems can outshoot their sniper scope in their normal format.  Granted, this system is designed for indoor use anyways, but now it means that outdoor games with this gear are out of the question.  It's a steep price for this gear that's only geared towards indoor games.  The bulk of my laser tagging is outdoors, so while I am biased in my dislike of an indoor-only game, I can just as easily use my equipment indoors too.

Aside from those issues, my biggest complaint about this system has been it's overall design.  I'm a big fan of aesthetics and none of these blasters do it for me with their "Paper Jamz" designs and comic book graphics.  I just can't warrant using a blaster that looks THAT awful and cheap.  On top of that, they're gimmick laden with all sorts of flashy abilities that, from what I've heard, get in the way of the game.  Gameplay itself doesn't even seem to warrant much more than "Shoot!" with this system anyways, as the scoring system/objectives are lost on me.  The features seem like they're there for the sake of having options instead of actually enhancing gameplay and strategy.

If you think I'm being harsh to the new kid on the block, take a look at Light Strike in your own stores.  If your retailers shelves are anything like mine, you'll see the Strikers, Assault Strikers, Sensors, Targets, and accessories in the same spot you did 3 weeks ago collecting dust.  Heck, this system hit shelves around me in July.  3 months later, I've noted minimal stock changes of these products on the shelves.  Not even when it initially hit store shelves did I see signs that anyone had picked one up.  While I doubt that Light Strike hasn't been well received due to folks reading up on it and not liking what they've read on the interwebs, this overpriced system is taking up shelf space that I, personally, think would be better served for the LTX or for more Nerf blasters.

I had originally planned to pick one up myself and do testing on it, but seeing the prices remain high, reading the unfavorable reviews, and seeing that no-one else has really ventured into this system, I don't think I need to subject myself to getting these Paper Jamz blasters.


  1. I tend to agree on those points, but what do you suggest in terms of creating (or rather, re-shelling) your own laser tagger? what parts would one use for compatibility and performance? is there a write-up to customizing or re-shelling laser taggers?

  2. ::sigh:: at this rate, every post I make will be based on points that are brought up in comments! lol Certainly makes MY job easier!

    Really when it comes to building your own tagger, it's gotta work for what you want it to. So far, there aren't any laser tag systems that would work for everything (if there was, you can be sure I'd be all over that!). If you use Light Strike and want to build your own tagger, building it with a LS board would obviously be your starting point. If you're building a blaster that you want to use for Laser Challenge, you could use several different systems since LC isn't quite as picky when it comes to signal recognition. I haven't made a write-up on customizing or re-shelling laser taggers... but I should!

  3. Props on the blog. Been reading your stuff for the last few months and I regret that I didn't get back into laser tag sooner, when the LTX was at the height of it's availability. That being said, it seems like a lot of the old-school laser taggers are giving Light Strike a bad rep. As the system that got me back into laser tag, is it any consolation that it's not a bad system for noobs to start with? Laser tagging has been catching on with my circle of friends as well as my church youth group largely because of this and it may fall short compared to the LTX but it's hard to find those guns these days.

    Yes, the options can be gimmicky and doesn't really factor too much in the gameplay, but folks who have been using this for a while have developed a level of comfort that allows them to take some advantage of the options when used properly. On the flipside, it is simple enough that new players can just jump right in. All I'm saying is don't write it off completely. Retail laser tag equipment is slim pickins right now but who knows? This might build up enough mainstream interest for the LTX people to start releasing new guns or even old designs again. I'll be counting on you to keep us all informed if or when that happens, keep up doing what you're doing and thanks.

  4. We've confirmed a new laser tag system compatible with LTTO and LTX in Winter of 2012 by the same folks who produced those systems. My main beef is the indoor-only nature of light strike. I think the main selling point for laser tag is the ranges you can get with them indoor or outdoor. Light Strike disregarded that and went with gimmicks instead on an overpriced system. I'm sure it works fine for folks who aren't able to get other gear, but to me its more of a embarrassment sitting on those shelves for months to be "helping" laser tag as a whole.

  5. I am of a group that really enjoys playing with the light strike equipment. I have used other laser tag systems, this one is just fine. I'm going to give you a brief review based on the experience of our 12 regular players aged 10 to 25.

    We play only outside at night, and while nobody is scoring 800 yard hits, the closer ranges (~100 yards) keep the games fast-paced and fun.

    Scoring system is a non-issue since we avoid a competitive spirit. Teams are reassigned every couple rounds and players are out after a single elimination.

    I really like the external lights since in addition to identifying your team color, (red team always looks badass) they serve a tactical purpose. The frontal LED will flash orange and alert your enemies when ammunition has been expended, and will briefly flash the color of the enemy team to let them know each time they score a hit.

    Forty dollars per tagger (30 for the little pistols) plus the cost of batteries to get in the game is not too steep in our collective opinion. We do not play with the lame-o vests.

    The "fingerprint recognition" button is gimmicky, and the single/semi-auto fire selection is pointless and likely the result of some ignorant shmoe who has never touched a real gun throwing some fun gun jargon into his product.

    The only attachment worth using is the scope since it doubles your range and can produce a one-hit kill on its most powerful fire mode.

    I agree the external appearance of the stock taggers is unimpressive, but anyone who doesn't like it can easily integrate their internals with just about any nerf gun's shell, since the emitter assembly will seat perfectly to point-of-aim in a stock nerf barrel.

    I have integrated two taggers so far, one into a nerf stampede and the other into a nerf longstrike with the scope attachment permanently integrated as well. Both offer significant improvements in form as well as function (read: MUCH easier to aim and therefore more accurate).

    If you have any questions you would like answered about this system without having to go and drop the cash yourself I would be happy to help you out.

  6. Nice review! I'm glad this system caters to your needs as it sounds like it works for what you guys do. In the end, that's the most important aspect of a Laser Tag system: does it fit what you're doing.

    Do you have a website or any information on the games that you play/ the integrations you've done? It's always great seeing what others are up to!

  7. I'm not sure if my first attempt to comment went through...

    That was my anonymous comment and review above. I made a blog today so here it is: