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Experiencing the Eclipse

When I learned that Laser War Zone located at Jump Club Trampoline Park in Tujunga, CA was operating with Netronic’s Eclipse laser tag equipment, I knew I had to check it out!

Up until now I had only experienced the more tactical, Falcon tagger with a headband sensor, but I had been much more intrigued by the traditional styling of the Eclipse with a vest and attached phaser. This is definitely my personal preference and I thank Esther and her staff at Laser War Zone for coordinating a time that Noah and I could come in to try this system for the very first time.

We arrived and were greeted by our game marshal, Avo, who showed us into the lobby vesting room where 16 packs were hanging on the wall and we got to view a briefing video to learn more about the system. Much of what we were shown was fairly self-intuitive, but the most interesting feature to me was the button in the center of the pack, which you could press to gain “superpowers”.

We were shown to our respective team bases, red and blue in each corner of the arena.

And then it was game on!

The packs would light up in either red or blue when we were active, but a successful tag makes your opponent’s pack flash white until they reactivate. The elongated oval end of the “barrel” on the phaser flashed accordingly, serving as the main visual target on the tagger.

I am a girl who likes my laser tag gear to have bright lights all throughout the game. This hit the mark. While tactical tag tends to go the opposite way, these packs lit up nicely and gave a good visual indicator of what was taking place in the game as our tags connected with the sensors.

There is a lot of information provided on the screen on the side of the phaser, however my tendency is not to look down in the middle of the game.

So how does it play? Check out our first game experience playing Eclipse.

I got some in-game coaching from Avo on how to deactivate a base. It was not as simple as hitting it a fixed number of times. Instead, I had to “charge it up” by repeatedly tagging (and reloading) until the progress bar at the bottom showed it had reached its max. Then I could take the base and reap the reward in the form of a power-up.

The base screens are interesting because they are neither a molded target with sensors lit from within nor a video screen exactly, though they lean closer to the latter with their retro-style, large pixel images.

The game played out in this single level, spray paint decor arena tucked behind the Jump Club Trampoline Park.

This business caters primarily to groups and parties, which is why none of my friends in the area had experienced a walk-in game like this before. I want to thank Laser War Zone for providing us the opportunity to try it out!

As for my take away from my game experience, I really enjoyed playing Netronic’s Eclipse! In comparison with my past experiences playing what I consider their tactical gear, I found this to be a very different game entirely. It felt very natural and intuitive, something new, but almost like a cool retro vibe. I am sure it is because I lean more towards traditional tag as my preference, but I definitely prefer this system with the vest option.

It was interesting to hear Noah’s perspective, noting that he found this system to be more tactical than what he typically plays. He is also a traditional tag player, so a player’s point of view and past experience can certainly make a big difference in perceptions about the game, but either way we both enjoyed having this new experience! We also agreed that we found the superhero function to be interesting and the arena design to have good playability.

Coordinating a side trip to California around all the activities I was busy with in Las Vegas during the Laser Tag Convention was not easy, but it was absolutely worthwhile to make this trip in order to have the opportunity to experience Netronic Eclipse at Lazer War Zone. I am so glad we were able to do this!

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