Founder: Andras Uhlyarik
Date Established: 1995
Date Closed: Approx. April 1, 2005- sold to LaserMaxx
Number of Locations: 39
Andras Uhlyarik: President
Craig Grimm: Technical Director
First Facility: Named LaserLand in Seattle, Washington
Equipment: Quoted from a Laser Chaser advertisement: “The lightweight Laser Chaser vest features a high denier woven fabric for superior comfort, fit, and breathability. Under 5 pounds and fully adjustable, the Laser Chaser Vest will fit both children and adults comfortably. The Phaser shows you the time left in the game, remaining number of shots and lives, and will guide you through the game with voice commands.”
The Phaser gun was also featured with two handles for two-handed operation, and a 635 nanometer laser.
A 1997 Laser Chaser demonstration video
Laser Chaser was an innovative company creating a number of concepts still used by the laser tag industry today. Laser Chaser introduced the "Smart Card Technology" card that was a combine payment authenticator and can be used as membership card. Quoting from the Laser Chaser sales literature, circa March 2004 online:
"When a player pays for a game, they are issued a smart card. This card is encoded with their name and personal game handicap. The player can pick up any pack in the vesting room and insert the card. The pack immediately radios back to the computer who is using it. This eliminates confusing pack assignments in traditional laser tag systems. The smart card can also be used as a membership card. Player information is also stored on this card to track player history and game performance. Another piece of information to be stored on the card is prepaid credits. The card can then function as a debit card with in the facility for video games and concessions."
For more details, check out this link to the Internet Archive regarding Laser Chaser's smart card technology.
The Laser Tag Museum also has a digital sales brochure that was downloaded from the Laser Chaser website on April 13, 2004 with greater detail of the Smart Card Technology. One of the unique elements mentioned in the document is how the Smart Card Technology saves the operator money in reducing labor:
"If you have a member at the counter, he/she just has to insert his membership card (Smart Card) in to the main card reader. His/her code name will immediately appear in the Alias box. If the player is not a member, you can either select his code name from a drop-down menu, or if you wish, you can type it in. The key is that if you wnat to completely eliminate the need for typing code names into the computer, you can. For more information please refer to the Player Booking section. Streamiling the booking-in process is very important. Decreasing labor hours it takes to operate the system means saving money."
What was unique about the Laser Chaser Smart Card Technology in the industry in 2004 was how functional it was. Quoting from the Laser Chaser sales document downloaded on April 13, 2004:
"Developing a completely software driven pack has further advantages. You can create a system where players do not have to remember their pack assignment (i.e. the code name Asteroid is assigned to Red 5). Having to remember pack assignment creates operational headaches. During the briefing/vesting process game marshals have to announce which pack number belongs to which code name or player. Excited players sometimes pick up the wrong pack and mess up the score cards.
We came up with a solution to streamline this process. We use Smart Card technology to program the game plan and the player's identity onto. The Smart Cards take the place of colored mission slips most operators use to identify which game a player is scheduled into. The player can take the card into the vesting room and insert it into ANY pack he/she wants to. There is an internal serial number in each pack. This way the computer knows that pack number 25 is being used by Asteroid in this game. The computer then stores the incoming data in a file that belongs to Asteroid.
The other advanced feature that now becomes possible is the following. Asteroid's pack (#25) breaks down in the middle of the game. The game marshal can now take Asteroid and pack 25 into the vesting room. Through a drop down menu the marshal can program another Smart card with Asteroid's game parameters. Asteroid can swipe it into any of the remaining packs in the vesting room. The new pack, let's say pack #3, now will transmit the data into the same file the previous pack was transmitting into (Asteroid). This way the game is not ruined for this player and perhaps the others in the arena. Asteroid only lost a couple of minutes of game time."
The Internet Achive has an image from June 6, 2004 of the Smart card located at https://web.archive.org/web/20040606140515/http://photos.laserchaser.com/Additional-Laser-Tag-Equipment-01/Smart_Card.
The Laser Tag Museum has a sample membership card in its archives donated by Mr. Andras Uhlyarik, president of Laser Chaser. Mr. Uhlyarik donated the sample Smart Card Technology artifact after he resigned from Laser Chaser and selling the company to LaserMaxx in 2005.
History: Laser Chaser was inspired by Pulsar, which was inspired by Laser Force (UK); the original electronics were manufactured by a company located in Sussex, UK, known as Autolec. Laser Chaser utilized a common proprietary communication protocol and bullet structure owned by Martin Shoebridge