Q-Zar / Quasar
Founder: Geoff Haselhurst
Geoff Haselhurst – Founder
Peter Robinson - Co-founder
David Cox – Ex - Owner credited with bringing Q-Zar to the UK
Omnitronics (Perth, WA) - Contract manufacturer of the hardware and software
David Nicholson - Managing Director
Peter Lowe - Director
Jim Wilcox - Director
Nathan Buzza - Software Engineer
Kevin Davies - Electronics Engineer
Alan Parker - Commercial Director
Nigel Broadfoot - Procurement
Quasar Limited (UK) (Defunct)
Ivano Cafallo – Director
Brian Murphy – Director
Michael Boyle - Director
Colum Butler – Director
Thomas Butler – Director
Joseph Creighton – Director
David Cox - Ex-Owner of the Quasar rights for the UK.
John Kavanagh – Secretary
Q-Zar Franchising Inc. (USA) (Defunct)
Thomas Butler – President and Chief Executive Officer
John Cooke – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Charles Gavin Sayers – Senior Vice President of Business Development
Neil J. Farren – Senior Vice President of Sales
Jim Found– Vice President of Operations
Robert Delvecchio – Vice President of Sales
Darren Burke - Research & Development Manager
Joe McIntyre – Project Manager
First Location: The Quasar Centre, 160 Beaufort Street, Northbridge, WA, Australia
Pictured: Quasar trademark applied on March 10, 1987 with IP Australia.
Equipment: Quoted from the Q-Zar marketing material, “Before they enter the arena, players are split into red and green teams and briefed on their mission. Then each player put on a “glow-in-the-dark” sensor vest and picks up a laser.”
Also according to the marketing material the Q-Zar equipment comes with class 1 A laser, game information LED display panels, and infra-red transmitter and sensors.
Quasar refered to each generation of the product under label of "Mark". Quasar had 5 different versions of equipment during their 10 year history.
Q-zar Television Spot #1
Mark I is pictured above. It was produced from 1987-1988. It was a harness with a small 6" box containing the electronics in the front and a small 2" x 6" box holding the battery in the back. The phaser was a one-handed phaser with a clear barrel.
Mark II was the same harness and electronics as Mark I. It was manufactured from 1989-1992. The phaser was reshaped into a two handed phaser made from a material that was very similar to a rubberized material.
Mark III was used a BMX body armor and the 2 handed phaser was now made from a polished plastic material. The Mark III and Mark IIIb were introduced in September 1992.
Mark IV utilized a custom created BMX plastic body armor and the electronics were updated. The phaser shell was slightly modified. It was manufactured approximately late 1993 through 1995.
Mark V was introduced in 1995 and became the most well known version of the equipment. It consisted of the flourescent orange and green body armor with the two-handed phaser. Thousands of these packs were produced and still operating in 2013.
Mark VI was never introduced by Q-Zar. Instead the product was brought to market by Heads-Up Technology and was sold under the brand name "LaserTrek". Here is an advertisement for the Mark VI.
Mark VII was known as "iQ" and also never brought to market as a fully functional system. Pictured below are two of the only 18 known "iQ" packs to exist. The two packs were donated by Sean Evans and Trish Pereira of Q-Zar Systems in February 2014.
Q-Zar also created other packs for specialty markets.
MegaQuest was conceived to create a less expensive laser tag brand. The product consisted of a harness similar to Mark I and Mark II but had a two-handed phaser that was a dark olive green in color.
Q-Tag was an effort to target a younger demographic of players. It consisted of a blue or yellow sash with a corresponding color phaser that was a smaller version of the standard two-handed phaser.
Q-zar Television Spot #2
History: * There is an enormous amount of business entities associated with Quasar/Q-Zar and we have done our best to research and document as many as possible. There may, however, be some that we have missed. If so, please contact us via the Laser Tag Museum website.
In March 1987, Geoff Haselhurst comes up with the idea to develop a laser tag system later known as Quasar in Perth Australia and opens his first site on June 1, 1987.
The original software for Quasar was created by Nathan Buzza who was just 17 years old at that time. Nathan's talent did not stop at the software as he also created the original logo for Quasar. He also wrote the enormously popular video game "Q*Bert". Later, as an adult, Nathan would become an award winning technology pioneer and company director at Alcidion Corporation.
David Cox, a school teacher at the time, visits Australia and plays Quasar. He then proceeds to buy the UK rights from Geoff in December of 1987 and brings the product to the UK. He opens Quasar in Haringey, London, UK.
In 1989 after visiting a Quasar site in the UK, the Irish businessmen under the company name LeisureCorp saw the potential of the system and bought the rights from Mr. Cox.
In 1992 a North American subsidiary of Quasar Limited is incorporated in Dallas, TX and the company name is changed from Quasar to Q-Zar.
In approximately 1992, the name of the laser game product changes from "Quasar" to "Q-Zar". The creator of the name "Q-Zar" was the marketing firm "The Leisure Process". Mr. John Carver, from the marketing firm also developed the marketing copy line "Serious Fun with a Laser Gun". Mr. Carver now has his own marketing firm, Cunning.
Mr. Carver personally wrote and created many of the "in your face" marketing pieces that became iconic to the Q-Zar brand. The marketing helped propel Q-Zar and the rest of the laser tag industry into the lexicon of cultural acceptance.
The product name change from Quasar to Q-Zar was due to a trade mark conflict with Phillips Magnavox's brand of electronics called "Quasar". Q-Zar was selected since it sounded similar but would not create any brand confusion.
In December of 1993 Q-Zar Holdings Limited (“Q-Zar Bermuda”), a company under the laws of Bermuda by management of QUSA, is acquired in an arm’s length transaction. 95.8% of the issued and outstanding shares in QUSA and the exclusive intellectual property rights of the Q-Zar game for North America, South America and the Pacific Rim from LeisureCorp Limited. Q-Zar Inc. subsequently acquired the minority shareholding in QUSA.
On July 1, 1994 Q-Europe is incorporated in Dublin Ireland with John Cooke, John Michael Boyle, Charles Gavin Sayers and Thomas Butler as company directors.
On November 15, 1994 Q-Zar Limited is incorporated in the UK under the same Director as Quasar Limited, Ivano Cafallo.
On February 21, 1995 a meeting of creditors is posted in the London Gazette beginning the dissolution process of Quasar Limited.
May 1995, Q-Zar Inc. and Q-Zar Canada are incorporated in connection with the reorganization of Q-Zar Bermuda.
August 1995, through the Q-Zar Inc. subsidiary Q-Europe Limited, Q-Zar Inc. purchases all of the outstanding shares of the companies comprising the QML Group. Q-Entertainment owns the worldwide intellectual property rights to substantially all Q-Zar products.
In 1995 Quasar England closes down; all European support is directed to Quasar Ireland. Later that year Quasar Ireland is renamed to Q-Zar International and is significantly scaled down.
Q-zar Television Spot #3
January 1996, Q-Zar Inc. acquires all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Entertainment Technologies Inc.
In March 1997, Q-City is opened in Mesquite TX. It closed in December 1997. There are some pictures of Q-City located here.
On June 24, 1997 a dissolution notice is posted in the London Gazette for Q-Zar Limited.
On December 29, 1997 Q-Entertainment filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
On July 6, 1998 a hearing is set by the Bankruptcy Court in Dallas Texas regarding the business entities of Q-Entertainment Inc., Terrier Holdings Inc., Entertainment Tech Inc., Q-West LLC., Q-Networks Inc., and Q-Zar Northwest.
In 1999, the Bankruptcy proceedings against Q-Zar are closed. Two individuals would lay claim to the assets of Q-Zar. Mr. Will Low of San Francisco and Mr. JR Robels of Tomball, TX.
In 2002, Q-Zar Systems of Concord, CA was formed to purchase the assets and rights from Mr. Will Low. Since then, Sean Evans and Trisha Pereira, have continued to promote, develop and assist in ensuring the Q-Zar brand stayed active in the industry.
On June 13, 2005, JR Robels sold 49% interest of Q-Zar USA to Summit Entertainment Group, headed up by Mr. John Jarvis.
Q-Zar continues to be serviced and supported throughout the USA and Europe to this day.
The photo to the right is of the Q-Zar Ballon. The pciture was sent in to us from Joe Russo, who also provided the signed Michael J. Fox pack to place on display. Here is Joe's email:
going through some of my photos from days gone by and look what I found. I think this was in 96/97 we had the Q-ZAR hot air Balloon shipped to us for promotions. We setup Free hot air balloon rides Via one of the local Long Island top 40 radio station and StonyBrook University.
It is always great to get photos like this that help provide a piece of the story of the manufacturer.
From the Curator: Q-Zar holds a special place in my heart as it was the first laser tag system I ever played. Q-Zar's mark on the laser tag industry still resonates today nearly 15 years after it ceased trading.
Q-Zar brought a corporate look and image that exceeded anything that was the norm in the laser tag industry. The marketing, the game formats, the videos all came together to create a bar that forced many competitors to match or try to exceed.
Q-Zar was mired in controversy and questionable business practices. Over the years, many stories have been passed on about Q-Zar. The purpose of the Laser Tag Museum is to document the facts of the industry and this is not the forum to rehash allegations.
What Q-Zar did do for the laser tag industry was to prove the model of laser tag as an attraction or stand alone business was at least viable.
I have to thank Bob Webb of Quasar Elite and Steve Jennings of Meno Electronics/Q-2000 for their donations to the museum as well as hours that they shared with me in discussing Quasar and Q-Zar providing a wealth of information.
Q-zar Television Spot #4
Q-zar Sample Sales Footage
From the Curator, Part 2 (Updated September 28, 2014):
It has been slightly over a year since I flew to Perth, Australia and then drove through a horrendous storm for 4 hours to visit Mr. Geoff Haselhurst, the creator of Quasar. Geoff lives a highly intellectual lifestyle with ample time for thought and contemplation. My dinner at his house was both momentous and enlightening.
I was able to ask Geoff about the orgins and the ideas of the beginning of Quasar. Geoff was a high school physics teacher at Trinity College, Carine High School when he read about "Photon: The Sport of the Next Century" in the USA. Geoff conducted further research into the costs of opening a Photon franchise as well as looking at a Vultrek license as Vultrek was based out of Adelaide, Australia.
(Pictured: Geoff Haselhurst's membership card from the first Quasar in the UK)
Being a physics teacher, Geoff was convinced that he could develop his own laser tag system at less cost than purchasing one of the few business opportunities. And he was right. After several months of trial and error, Geoff opened his first Quasar in Perth, Australia.
I asked Geoff, while we sat at the dinner table, just how he created the name "Quasar" for the laser tag product. His reply was unexpected. Since he was a teacher at a local high school, he simply put together a list of potential names and then allowed his students to vote. "Quasar" was the clear winner.
Shortly after the Quasar Centre opened, a British school teacher by the name of David Cox was on holiday in Perth. Geoff and David, both being teachers, got along immediately. David decided to open a Quasar in London, UK, according to Geoff. Ultimately, the Quasar, located at The Old Cinema on Frobisher Road in London was visited by Ivano Cafallo who was looking for another attraction for his budding Leisureplex.
(Pictured: David Cox's handwritten note to Geoff Haselhurst dated June 13, 1989.)
Ivano spoke with Geoff during one of Geoff's visits to the London Quasar and a deal was made for Geoff to sell all of his rights and claims to Qusar. Geoff departed the laser tag industry in early 1991 and has spent his time as a philospher and seeker of truth.
From the Curator, Part 3 (Updated September 28, 2014):
I mentioned that I drove through a 4 hour storm. What I should have also stated that is that a tree fell on the road and the windscreen of the hire car was severly damaged. Hundreds of dollars worth of damage. It was well worth it to finally meet Geoff Haselhurst and hear his story.
(Pictured: Felled tree after the windstorm.)
(Pictured: Cracked windscreen of the hire car. Damage was caused by a branch hitting the windscreen.)