One of the surprises of 2020 for us has been a tremendous demand for Laser Tag. While people are avoiding large venues where they may be mingling with strangers, private parties that meet the CDC guidelines have been extraordinarily popular during COVID. While video games have been popular, this year we have seen unprecedented demand for our laser tag offering.
The reason is simple.
Parents want to get their kids out of the house.
Perhaps it harkens back to a simpler time when we used to play outside. When I was a kid growing up in the 70’s I remember my parents kicking me out of the house and telling me not to come back until dinner time. I even remember one summer when I raced back into the house after dark and my dad asked, “are you done for the night?” Not breaking stride as I ran to the junk drawer, I shouted back over my shoulder, “Nope just getting a flashlight!” My father’s response? “Okay kid.”
We have learned a lot about parenting (and no I never turned my kids loose like that when they were young) — the image of our children playing outside with each other I do not believe will ever go away.
So let’s take a look at what is making Laser Tag so popular.
This is Not Your Father’s Laser Tag
You are probably most familiar with indoor laser tag. With indoor laser tag, black lights and fog create an otherworld atmosphere where groups of players — divided into teams — compete with each other as they navigate a darkened maze. GameTruck Laser Tag is completely different.
For the Record: Laser Tag is not played in the truck!
GameTruck brand Laser Tag is played outside. If you actually look at the most popular first-person shooter (FPS) games today you may notice something in common with them. They are all played in very realistic environments. The days of hazy otherworldly space battles seem to be over, at least in the video game space.
In addition, at a GameTruck Laser Tag event, only your invited guests can participate. The event is private. You may find this shocking, but most people play it in the front or back yard. Like the old-school game of tag for which it’s named, you don’t need as much space as you would think to play.
The Taggers Are Safer Than You Know
I have a secret, but you have to promise not to tell your kids. Laser Tag units are basically TV remote controls dressed up to look like fancy science fiction blasters. They “transmit” infra-red light (basically an LED blinks on and off behind some optics) and “sensors” pick up the light and decode the signal to figure out where it came from, and who gets the credit for the tag.
The biggest risk the taggers pose is their weight. Seriously. This is why we have a strict no running policy. The rugged aircraft-grade aluminum units are light enough for a six-year-old to hold but they can pack a wallop if you get bumped with one.
Laser Tag embraced social distancing before social distancing was a thing. They are more fun to operate over long distances, and most players realize they are at a disadvantage up close because the software inside the tagger limits how fast you can pull the trigger. Strategy, teamwork, and communication are the keys to success in almost every laser tag game.
Gamers Love it
Kids who play video games, especially first-person shooter (FPS) games like Fortnite, tend to understand Laser tag immediately. They are familiar with the concepts and game modes. The chance to play an FPS like game in real life is irresistible. What’s more, the players are able to experiment with different games. They can work as teams, play individually, or recreate popular video game experiences like infection, or dreadnaught. Our coaches are constantly assessing the newest most popular games. They take away the learning curve so players spend more time tagging each other than figuring out rules.
Summer, fall, winter, spring — gamers play laser tag in all seasons. Each change in the season brings a different feel and a different texture to the experience. Dodging behind trash cans in the summer has a completely different vibe than building a snow fort in winter and defending your kingdom.
Parents love it
Finally, the number one reason Laser Tag has become enormously popular this fall — (nearly tripling demand) is because the kids are outside and moving around. Homeschooling, e-learning, and all that time in front of screens have been tough on everyone. What’s more, many of the public spaces we used to attend may be off-limits or closed. Laser Tag lets you create an active world in the privacy of your own back yard.
Parents tell them that the sight of their kids interacting with friends alone makes it worthwhile. Add to that they are burning calories and stretching their arms and legs as they move from hiding spot to hiding spot, and both parents and players have loved GameTruck Laser Tag. Supervised by GameTruck Staff who act as part referee, part coach, and part technical support, parents can sit back and enjoy themselves and their kids having fun. (Note: Some adults are even known to join in the fun!)
When I started GameTruck I was dead set against Laser Tag. I wanted to focus on being the best video game party company on the planet. You know how stubborn entrepreneurs can be. Yet, customers kept calling and asking for it. When our booking agents told them it was unavailable, parents still booked with GameTruck anyway.
That affected me in two ways. First, I thought, “Who does that!?” How many times do you call up a company looking for one product only to end up buying something completely different? I had mistakenly thought the parents were buying video game parties — the product we sold them. The truth is, they wanted help celebrating their child’s birthday. While they might have preferred laser tag, the parents wanted a successful celebration from a trusted company more than a specific activity. This insight has driven our company for over a decade and I believe it is the key to our long-standing success. What is the saying? 10 million guests can’t be wrong?
The second effect these customers had on me was much more practical and simple. I asked myself, “Why weren’t we selling people things they wanted to buy from us?” In short order, we added laser tag, and as they say, “the rest was history.”
Laser Tag Get’s Them Moving
The bottom line is that at GameTruck we are committed to doing anything we can to help you celebrate your child’s birthday. In full disclosure, depending upon where you live, some, or all of our services may be curtailed or suspended entirely. These are trying times. I think we are all looking forward to getting back to an open, safe, and free country where we can spend time with our friends again.
During this time of solidarity, however, where we are all making sacrifices to help expedite that day — and you happen to live in an area that allows small private gatherings like Laser Tag, you might want to check this out. Thousands of families just like yours have already found it to be a tremendously successful way to get their kids off the screens and outside playing with friends. I’m not just making that up. Our Net Promoter Score (NPS) ranks as an astounding 92. That is higher than Zappos, Amazon, Enterprise Rent-a-car, and many other national brands. It is certainly the highest score of any video game party company. What that means is 9 out of 10 people would recommend a GameTruck laser tag party to their friends.
Don’t believe me? If you have had a friend who has hosted a Laser Tag party, just ask them. You don’t have to take my word for it.