I recently had an opportunity to play a few private games of Cybertag with the owner and family of Tag Me 607 in Cortland, NY and it was such a great time!
First, let me say that I am in favor of wearing masks because I would rather be a little more cautious, regardless of what anyone else requires. Walt (the owner) told me he encourages masks and he also wore one the entire time I was there. So I decided to just work with the look and take it a bit further with a headband to turn it into a Photon throwback...
Tivia: Social distancing and tagging from behind a mask since 1986. Just a little ironic humor for those who recognize the origin of my code name. :) Shout out to the original Tivia, Loretta Heywood.
Tag Me 607 is a small facility with capacity for ten vests, but it is sized just right for kids. It features an eighties theme and a bit of their own throwback style in the decor, from Mario on the walls to Ms. Pac-Man and Tetris pieces inside the neon painted arena.
Before we started, Walt showed me the gear. This was my very first time getting to play using Cybertag, so I took some time to examine the vest and phaser.
The phaser has some simple indicators on the digital screen including one that represents the hand sensor. You must hold these phasers with two hands as one must be on the vertical front handle and one on the trigger.
So, let’s talk Cybertag. The equipment itself was the main reason I wanted to visit this site. Cybertag is the indoor system manufactured by LASERWAR out of Russia and I was intrigued because I have never before seen this in use at any other location I have visited up until now. To me it was quite a novelty to find it “out in the wild.” Actually, I had been given heads up about this site back in November, so it was on my radar specifically because I wanted to try out the gear. Let me say, I am now a fan!
I asked Walt how he decided to select this brand for his business. He told me the price point was a factor, but also that he had done some research on other operators in the U.S. who have used it and he got a positive impression. I must say, for this being on the lower end of the tag equipment price spectrum I was quite impressed with Cybertag. It may not have some of the fancier bells and whistles, but it played well and felt accurate and easily intuitive to learn the sounds and indicators during the game.
Walt and I did a 1v1 game so he set the system for free-for-all. Although it can run a variety of games, he opts to keep things simple for now with free-for-all or team games. For this game we both wore vests with green lights, although it didn’t take long to learn that the player in the lead at any moment will have their vest turn white. In a 1v1 that doesn’t make you any more of a target, but it is good info to have and with more players it will let you know who to focus your attention on the most.
The vest vibrates to let you know when you are tagged. You can be tagged a number of times before you hear the words “all lives depleted” accompanied by the lights on the vest turning purple for several seconds. At the end of that time you hear “lives regenerated” and are right back in it.
The packs have a steady red beam and you can see the shot most clearly when aimed against a wall.
There’s a generous radius for hitting the target. Per my usual M.O. when just playing to have fun I sprayed with the trigger and didn’t worry at all about my accuracy. However, if I were looking to challenge myself I could make an effort to improve that, as the final results do track your accuracy.
I won this round...good game Walt!
This next thought is more of a constructive critique for the manufacturer of the equipment. As I look at the screen I notice something that may be in part attributed to cultural differences (I speculate) as the equipment is from a Russian manufacturer whose emphasis is more in tactical. You will notice that while the scoreboard reflects “shots” and “hits” (which are common stats to see here in the U.S.) there are also columns titled “death” and “murder”. I think this probably boils down to a language interpretation, but most systems I’ve played favor less intense sounding terminology, such as “deactivated” and “tagged” or “zapped”. I think it is always important to reinforce that there is nothing violent about this game at all. Perhaps the manufacturer might consider using different terminology more in line with the fun elements of the game in future versions. However, I also suspect that I’m the first person to play here and even think twice about the semantics of the wording because all most people care about is the final score.
For team games we played green vs blue as Walt’s kids joined us (also wearing masks) and I found it interesting to note that the kids had no trouble at all keeping an appropriate distance from anyone else. Very good to see!
I also appreciated seeing that each pack was disinfected immediately after use, even though I kept mine on and personally only touched one vest and phaser the whole time.
I want to thank Walt of Tag Me 607 for an excellent experience. I appreciate having had an opportunity to try out Cybertag for myself and I definitely hope to return again!
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com