Do you remember the game Tetris? If you grew up during the ’80s, there’s a good chance you were addicted to it.
The tile-matching puzzle video game was initially released in 1984 but took off when the handheld version launched on Nintendo’s Game Boy in 1989. The combination of the simplicity and portability of Tetris made it the ultimate time-killing activity—and one of the best-selling video games of all time.
When it comes to laser tag, there are many parallels with the world of video gaming. They both build the player experience around sophisticated software. Similar to video games, the right concept for a laser tag arena can help you create a cult following that will bring customers back for more.
Bridging the digital and physical worlds, laser tag can attract “gamers” who represent the weekday groups of laser tag players. Some industry experts theorize that video games have increased the popularity of laser tag. This claim is supported by the increasing sales of multiplayer online role-playing games who post millions of subscribers worldwide.
To give you more to think about, one of the critical factors of a successful laser tag center is the gameplay.
What is gameplay?
According to techopedia.com, Gameplay is a term used to define the way players interact with a particular video or computer game. In laser tag, the gameplay is determined by the player’s interactions and experience with both the laser tag equipment and the arena.
To the untrained eye, laser tag can appear very similar, and it’s natural to distinguish one manufacturer from another based on the look and feel of the equipment. However, poor playability negatively affects the player’s experience.
What makes gameplay good?
While this is subjective to the player, we’ve studied the topic of gameplay extensively and use the acronym, L-A-S-E-R based on our belief of what makes it enjoyable.
Let’s revisit the game, Tetris. Any first-timer can learn how to play in seconds, which minimizes the friction of a steep learning curve. Compared to roller skating or bowling, laser tag is much easier to learn. If you’re evaluating different laser tag systems, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s briefing video to see how simple and easy-to-understand it is from a new player’s perspective. Remember, if you’re confused—you lose.
Getting people motivated to improve and aspire to become a better player is another pillar of stellar gameplay. The right laser tag scoreboard helps the dedicated laser tag players improve their skills and knowledge of the game. In addition to the total points scored, having awards for ‘best player,’ ‘most accurate,’ and ‘trigger happy’ players gives other dimensions of aspiration.
In the context of interactions and competition with other players, your laser tag system should encourage players to become members of a group or community. Think about the socialization in the popular game, Halo, which is an iconic symbol of modern video games. A powerful membership program built into your software can encourage your players to invite their friends.
A quality laser tag arena combined with the equipment and software creates an immersive experience for your customers. Having game depth and variety also adds to the excitement for your dedicated players who expect the same level of interactivity as their video games. With the laser tag demographics desiring a more immersive experience, you have to step up your game to compete.
The phaser is equivalent to controllers for video games. The first impression can make or break the player’s experience. If your phaser feels awkward and doesn’t shoot with pinpoint accuracy, you’ll likely turn players off and send them to your competitors. EA Sports demonstrated that you could turn away your most loyal fans with poor gameplay with FIFA 2019. As you’re evaluating laser tag equipment, pay close attention to ergonomics, fit-and-finish, and accuracy of your phasers.
It’s Your Turn
The bottom line is: better gameplay leads to more revenue. Taking a player-centric approach to your laser tag business ensures you’ll deliver the best possible guest experience. If you’re thinking about launching a laser tag business or upgrading your old system, be sure to evaluate the gameplay of each manufacturer before you pull the trigger.
Want to chat about the difference between good gameplay and a great one? Connect with one of our laser tag consultants at an upcoming event.