Laser Tag Museum News and Updates

Updated with our latest items for the museum, and our relentless quest to document the history of laser tag.
Curator

Laser Strike Creator Discusses Origins

Laser Strike founder and co-developer Hugh Robinson sat down with me tonight and discussed how he and his twin brother along with friend started the first laser tag in New Zealand.  Laser Strike has gone on to become the second most important laser tag system ever created.

The results of the conversation are posted on the Laser Strike page.

Curator

VadaForce Sits Down for Interview

One of the earliest laser tag systems in the industry was VadaForce, based out of Petone, Lower Hutt, Wellington, NZ.  VadaForce not only operated for several years but also was the inspiration for Laser Quest.

Vada Force Laser Tag

I had dinner with Chris Howard, Bridget (Howard) Fraser and Dennis Howard,  the founding family of VadaForce.

Listening to their stories of how they started the business; how they built out the facility and the efforts to market and operate the business for several years was fascinating.  Nearly 25 years later and many of the items that they did to market and operate are industry standards. 

A more indepth write up has been placed on the VadaForce page.

Curator

Peter Kitchener of Lasertron (NZ) Interviewed

A journey that started 16 months ago with a random email to the Laser Tag Museum website culminated in a half day spent with Peter Kitchener, founder of Lasertron, in Auckland, NZ.

Detalis of the interview have been posted on the Lasertron (NZ) section.

Curator

Megazone NZ Donates V3 Pack

I had the chance to sit down for a few hours today with Megazone's Managing Director Wayne Corlett to discuss how the laser tag market has matured in New Zealand.

Curator

First Day in New Zealand Yields New Lasertron Info

After 36 hours and 3 different layovers, I arrived in Auckland, NZ.  And with the help of Judy and the other staff of the Manukua Research Library, I was able to find a newspaper article about the opening of Lasertron in the Auckland area on Dec 6, 1986.  (This Lasertron is not associated with Lasertron based in Buffalo, NY).

This article appeared in the Manukau Courier on Tuesday, November 18, 1986:

LasertronNewsTop2

I was able to get a print out of the newspaper article as well as a digital shot of a 1988 phone book list.  More updates as I travel researching laser tag manufacturers that were based here in New Zealand.

Curator

New Videos Added to Indoor Companies

Several new videos have been added to Laser Force, LaserTrek, Photon, Ultrazone, and VeQtor. These videos are from the 80's and they have been transferred from old VHS tapes straight to the Laser Tag Museum website. Included in these videos are briefing videos, marketing, and even the 20/20 episode that gives a story about Photon.

We are constantly searching for new things to add to the pages about the manufacturers that created this industry and these videos definitely make the pages better!

Curator

Dennis Potts donates Special Laser Storm T-Shirts

Dennis Potts, former chief engineer of Laser Storm, has recently donated 3 rare Laser Storm t-shirts. These t-shirts include a Galactic Marauders-themed shirt, a default Laser Storm shirt, and a Stargate-themed shirt. Laser Storm was one of the only Laser Tag companies to use other popular media such as Stargate for themes in their equipment, and obviously their t-shirts.

Curator

Tom Swift and His Amazing Collection

solaristom

I was flying to Denver for an interview one of the pioneers of Laser Storm when I received a series of emails from Mr. Tom Swift of the UK.

Curator

Laser Quest Videos Uploaded

The digitization of the videos continue.  We just uploaded 5 classic videos from Laser Quest to the webpage at http://lasertagmuseum.com/indoor-company/l-m/laser-quest.

The videos were donated by Simon Barre, former owner of Leiceister Laser Quest and Phil Pickersgill, co-founder of Laser Quest.  Simon donated the corporate training videos and Phil donated the news article videos.

Curator

Trip to New Zealand and Australia

 

Planning the final details for my trip to New Zealand and Australia to research and collect items for the Laser Tag Museum. 

During my visit to New Zealand, I plan to meet with Chris Howard, creator of the VadaForce laser game system and Hugh Robinson, creator of Laser Strike.  I will also meet with Frank Stace, co-founder of Phasor Strike (later Zone Laser Tag).  I will also meet with Johnny Burt, General Manager of Laser Strike Christchurch who was instrumental in helping gather information for the museum.

In Australia, I will go visit the first Quasar in Perth, then head to Adelaide to meet up the founders of Vultrek.  Afterwards, I will be in Melbourne to collect some Phasor Strike items.  From there, I head to Brisbane to visit Battlefield Sports.

Along the way I will be visiting a number of laser tag locations and sharing information about the laser tag industry.

This trip should be exciting and yield a number of rare and last-of-their kind items for the musuem.

 

Curator

Shoot The Moon Interview Conducted Today

I had a great conversation today with Mr. David Small, president of Shoot The Moon Products, co-creator of the Lazer Tag consumer product line.  The full interview will be posted on the new Home Market section of the website.

Curator

Outdoor Nearly done, now onto Toy Laser Tag

Just a brief update to let the readers know that Charlie nearly has all of the outdoor laser tag providers documented.  Now we will be moving onto home & toy products.  This should take us through the end of summer.  More updates coming soon....

Curator

Lazer Zone (USA) Co-founder Shares Memories

One of the most overlooked company's in the laser tag industry is Lazer Zone (USA), based out of the Chicago area.  It opened its first location on September 30, 1984 and lasted nearly 25 years before the company shut down in 2009.

Lazer Zone made a concious effort to avoid the industry events, trade shows, seminars and other typical sales strategies.  It grew organically and followed its own path.

Mike Dragos, visionary and president of Lazer Zone (USA) passed away in 2010 due to cancer.  His wife, Kim Dragos, sat down with me tonight to share many memories of Lazer Zone.

Kim provided access to dozens of photos of Lazer Zone, the equipment, the locations and key events.  She recalled all the locations that had installed the Lazer Zone equipment.  She even even dropped the bombshell that a Lazer Zone was sold in Boulder, CO which connected it to the development of Laser Storm.

More of the interview will be posted on the Lazer Zone (USA) page.

Curator

Video Files Being Uploaded

Part of the Laser Tag Museum archives consist of over 80 different video tapes going all the way back to 1985 and in various formats from across the world.

We have VHS, Beta, PAL, NTSC, 3/4", 1" and other formats.  Some of the videos that we have had to be set out to professional duplicating services to convert the tapes into digital formats.  We then convert those mpg or avi files in .flv to be able to upload to this website.

The first video we uploaded was the last known copy of a product video from Phaser Strike donated by Phil Pickersgill, co-founder of Laser Quest.  We have now uploaded a number of videos from the late 1980's and early 1990's.  We will continue to digitize videos to help record the history and formation of the laser tag industry.

In the meanwhile, check out the videos at Laser Quest, Q-Zar, Lasertron (USA), and Laser Chaser.  More videos will be uploaded over the summer.

Curator

It came in the Post

Par Avion Air...from New Zealand.

A small envelope containing a handwritten letter and a picture.  The letter was from Mrs. Judith Wallath and the photo is shown below:

 Lasertron New Zealand

 Mrs. Wallath had done what we thought was nearly impossible.  She had found a picture of the fabled Lasertron equipment from New Zealand.  The back of the photo is imprinted May 1987.  It features her sons Richard and Alan Wallath wearing the laser tag equipment.  Richard is the man shooting the laser and Alan is in the front left row.

In May 2012, the Laser Tag Museum received an email from Nick Kitchener and it informed us about Lasertron's existence in New Zealand, something we were complete unaware of until the email.  In one year we have gone from a simple email to a physical bumper sticker and now a picture of the actual product.  One day we can only hope that we can find one of the 30 Lasertron vests that were made back in 1987.

Thank you Mrs. Wallath for searching through your scrap books to find the only known photo of a remarkable laser tag system.  Your kindness is thought about on a daily basis!.

Curator

It All Started On Post-Its: Tech Trees, Inspiration and How Many Companies?

Post Its Wall


It looks like a scene out of the crime dramas - all these Post Its on a wall and the question - "How do they relate to each other?"

When I started the website portion of the Laser Tag Museum, I had no idea how to make sense out of all the different companies that did or had existed.  I knew some companies were "inspired" by access to technology of another manufacturer.  But how do I show the links between these various manufacturers?

I did what an person with an unhealthy obsession did....I started to put down every company on a separate Post It and then placed them on a wall.  Each company was another Post It.  Each Post It had the company name and the year founded.  I placed them rows to show the different technology trees.

A technology tree is the method that the manufacturer chose to project the laser tag disruption communication.  The trees are:

Revered Infrared
Forward Infrared
Fiber Optic
Xenon Strobe

As I listed each manufacturer and then placed the Post-It on the wall, I was able to visualize how this website should be developed.

I placed the companies in chronological order along their technology tree.  I went back to jot down key personnel on each Post-It.  And I knew I was missing some companies because the timeline did not flow together smoothly.  It was particularly spotty from 1986 - 1990 and I learned later what I was missing.

The Post-Its are still up on the wall and the website is still not done.  But, it had to begin somewhere and they serve as our inspiration every day.
Curator

New Zealand Update

This has been a fantastic week for the Laser Tag Museum regarding the origins of laser tag and the importance that the country of New Zealand played in the industry development.

It has been known for a while that New Zealand gave birth to three different laser tag systems of which two played a major role in the development of the industry.  Back in 1986 and 1987, Laser Strike, Vaada Laser Systems and Lasertron (NZ), all were developed on the island nation of New Zealand. 

VaadaForce was inspired by Laser Strike and was installed in the very first Laser Quest in Manchester, UK.  Laser Quest went on to inspire numerous other laser tag systems such as DarkLight, Pulasr, Laserforce UK, Solaris Leisure, Intersphere, Reflex, Crystal and LaserMaxx.

Laser Strike was the first laser tag in New Zealand and ultimately inspired VaadaForce, Phaser Strike (now known as Zone Laser Tag), and Delta Strike.  Phaser Strike / Zone Laser Tag went on to inspire the creation of Laser Blast, Hankook Laser, Galaxy Laser Tag, and Laser Nation to name a few.

We have been striving to conduct the research into the founders of Laser Strike and VadaaForce but to no avail.  Records research for New Zealand is very difficult due to the earthquakes and fires that affected New Zealand's public records archives.

But, now we know more, thanks to the help of two volunteers that have taken the time to research certain aspects.

On April 24, I received an email from Jonny Burt, General Manager of Laser Strike, Christchurch who had tracked down the creator of Laser Strike.  This was much harder than it seemed after I typed that sentence, lol.  The creator of Laser Strike had sold the company about 2 decades ago and was not involved with Laser Strike.  In 2002, Doug Willems was the third owner of Laser Strike Christchurch and that equipment served as the inspiration for Delta Strike.  Jonny had found Hugh Robinson and amazingly he was only a few blocks away from Laser Strike.

On April 29, Frank Stace, the co-founder of Phaser Strike, sent me an email with some details regarding VaadaForce.  Frank stated that Dennis Howard was the main contact for Vada Developments.  Based on that email, I was able to track down Dennis Howard.

I will be visiting both of these gentlemen when I travel to New Zealand and Australia in late August.

The Laser Tag Museum must thank Jonny Burt and Frank Stace for their volunteer efforts to help fill in the much needed information on the development of laser tag in New Zealand.


Curator

New Chapter of Research to Begin

Today is April 25, 2013 which makes us 25 days behind our schedule.  We had set a goal to start the research on Outdoor Laser Tag manufacturers for April 1 but will be starting today instead.  The coding has already been in place and now we will start to document the entries.
Curator

Delta Strike Donates Prototype and Version 1 Laser Tag Packs

March 23, 2013 - Delta Strike International donated 2 laser tag packs and an original handheld device to the Laser Tag Museum.  Doug Willems, president of Delta Strike, contacted the Museum to arrange shipping of two different packs and the hand held remote.

The first pack is a prototype pack used at the Laser Strike facility in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Doug owned this location and used it as a development facility to create the very first Delta Strike version of equipment.  This version, dubbed Version 0 by the Laser Tag Museum, was the predecessor to the Delta Strike line of equipment.  This particular pack is special as it was housed in the Harvey Norman Centre that suffered some structural damage during the New Zealand earthquake that occurred February 11, 2011.  The pack sent to the Laser Tag Museum still has the dust all over it from the reconstruction.

Delta Strike Laser Tag Version 0


The first version of the Delta Strike handheld was also included to be placed on display in the Delta Strike section of the Laser Tag Museum.  This remote is from 2005 and Delta Strike has made significant advancements and improvements since this very first remote.

Delta Strike Laser Tag Remote


The other pack that Delta Strike donated was a version 1 pack from approximately 2006.  This pack was the first version of Delta Strike equipment to include the shoulder sensors unlike the version 0 pack pictured above.

Delta Strike Laser Tag Version 1


The donation by Doug Willems of Delta Strike brings the number of Delta Strike packs on display to 4 different laser tag packs and 2 different hand held remotes.  The Laser Tag Museum would like to thank Doug and Delta Strike for their amazing donation in preserving the history of the laser tag industry.

Curator

Legendary Q-Zar Pack Arises Out of the Mists of Time

It was only spoken about in hushed whispers.  No one had really seen it for over a decade.  Most thought it never truly existed.  Years ago, it was displayed only to an inner circle and since then, it has been shrouded in mystery.  It disappeared and people forgot it ever existed.

The Laser Tag Museum has been blessed with many unique or last-of-their-kind laser tag packs but the latest acquisition can never be replicated or recreated.  Mr. Joe Russo, former co-owner of Q-zar New York, graciously parted with a cherished pack to have on display for the thousands of visitors every year.

Michael J. Fox Signed Q-Zar Pack


The Q-Zar pack on display was worn by Michael J. Fox, star of the hit TV show, Spin City, in 1999.  The pack is autographed by the cast of the show including Michael J. Fox, Heather Locklear, Barry Bostwick and several other actors.  In addition, Joe was able to provide the Call Sheet with notes regarding the laser tag scene.  The episode was titled "Casino" and it was Episode 14 of Season 4 and was filmed on December 14, 1999 at Chelsea Piers in New York.

Also acquired is the Spin City call sheet for the episode the Q-Zar vest was worn on set, as well as two VIP tickets for the filming of the show.



These rare and amazing items will soon be on display in the Laser Tag Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

VISIT US

Want to visit the Laser Tag Museum?
We are located at 4121 Shelbyville Road Louisville, KY