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Laser Tag with a Paintball Marker

After leaving the Darklight facility where I played my last round of "traditional" laser tag for the day I went off to explore something interesting. I called ahead to the Skyline Paintball and Laser Tag facility in Winchester, VA. When I asked what laser tag system they run I was told they had icombat. I had never heard of this before! Although it was a little out of my way, I was really curious to learn about the system and try it out for myself. Upon arrival I found the business housed in a large metal building.

Most of the time when I see a building like this I assume that they will be using Laser Runner inside. This place is clearly predominantly focused on their paintball and they are apparently home to two paintball competition teams. But what they showed me for their laser tag was unlike anything I've ever encountered before. I'd say it was closest to tactical in nature, but still completely different. After signing the waiver I was taken over to a rack of Tippman paintball markers that had been modified with an electronic box. The entire game was housed in this box.

The object is to shoot straight into the box or at one of the sensors on either side. Health is limited and updated on the view screen on the back which registered hits on your target or when you got hit.

The arena had fairly minimalistic construction, but there were a number of hiding spaces within wooden structures, some of which had an upper level.

And the games were far less structured than I am accustomed to. Each lasted about three minutes. I was told to just head into a game already in progress. I picked up a marker (seems inaccurate to call it a phaser, but same idea) with the codename "Batman" and I went out into the indoor field to take a few shots. I was actually a bit surprised when the game master announced "Batman" had the high score. Then we went right back in. A young kid said "follow me" and I figured, why not? So he showed me to an upper level in a structure reminiscent of a tree house. Then this kid taught me the finer points of his game! :) It was interesting to play a couple of rounds. Then I chatted a bit with the employees. I told them why I was in town and they were astounded to learn about the laser tag tournament scene and what was happening not too far from their business. They were enthused, telling me they could clean up because they are all really good at laser tag. I asked them what other systems they play and they looked a bit perplexed, asking what other system there were. So I took this as my cue to bring out my phone and show them some photos of the laser tag systems I've been fortunate enough to play. They seemed quite interested and perhaps we'll see some of their players getting involved soon. It was well worth the venture to Winchester before heading to my hotel for the night and resting up for a really early start to Baltigeddon, Day 2.

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