Introductory Lazer Tag (AR) system (via Hasbro)
When I was young, laser tag sent my imagination to a futuristic world, where war felt as real as the gun I held. The problem with most of the laser tag systems I had was finding people to play with that had the same guns. Creative do-it-yourselfers have made their own laser tag using code scanners and bar codes, but the toy company Hasbro wants to make this experience more popular using augmented reality (AR) to unite new generations and existing laser tag lovers. Their innovative set up, along with the age of social networks, will surely influence people to organize and mobilize.
Hasbro is creating an AR experience by integrating a Heads-Up Display (HUD) that brings the battle to the virtual world. The best part about this display is that it is your iPhone or iPod touch, which attaches to the gun itself to create the AR battlefield.
The blaster and your iDevice communicate through an iOS app. The app contains different game modes like single player, where the player is up against difficult virtual opponents and targets. The real battle begins in multiplayer mode, where you can join up to 24 friends and make teams or take each other out in a free for all.
The HUD makes the experience unlike any other laser tag experience available to the consumer. Winning grants you access to upgraded attacks, new missions and new equipment. Within the HUD, you can lock on to foes, see the exact trajectory of your shot, get alerts when someone is aiming at you and see animations when you make a kill or die. You also use it to change guns, check your remaining health, leader boards and player profiles. The layout of the gun remains similar to previous systems with separate shooting, shield and reload triggers.
Mounting the iPhone or iPod touch is not intuitive, but it is easy to learn. The blasters include a skin to securely hold the device within the latch. The drawbacks for this first iteration of AR laser tag are lower quality graphics, some what complicated set ups (like changing the volume) and the fact that the blasters still need 6 AA batteries to function (come on Hasbro, get with the times and use rechargeable batteries and USB).
For those who do not have either an iPhone or iPod touch, play by using the front trigger to change teams, and the main trigger to select, but you will not have access to any of the sweet new features.
Single guns are available this month for $40 and sets of two will be out in the fall for $70.
Updates to the app are still being released, and news of a “taser tag” project have been floating around so stay tuned. In the mean time, check out Hasbro's Lazer Tag site for more.