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The Laser Tag Convention

The Laser Tag Convention is co-located annually with the Amusement Expo International and it benefits the Laser Tag Museum. This year’s event was held in Las Vegas, NV and provided an opportunity for attendees to attend industry related educational seminars on the first day prior to the start of the two-day trade show being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The seminars provided a wide range of content for all ends of the amusement industry, but the primary event held specifically for the laser tag industry was the laser tag round table and laser tag industry reception held in a ballroom at the Westgate Hotel on the first night. I was honored to be invited to speak about what makes a laser tag arena stand out as being unique and my personal laser tag initiatives including last year’s Tiviachick’s Top Ten arena contest and the upcoming Tag 4 A Cause.

Here is some video of what I shared with the group.

I passed out silicone wristbands with the website so people could find photos of the arenas I mentioned and I was very pleased to receive a great deal of positive feedback about this site being a useful resource.

We closed the night out with the laser tag industry reception where everyone enjoyed drinks and discussion while mingling with operators and representatives of various laser tag related businesses.

What a nice way to finish up a day that had already been full of activity! It started with a standing room only opening keynote speech by veteran John Kriesel who talked about losing his leg in Iraq and made parallels we could all learn from about moving forward after adversity.

Then we could choose from a series of educational seminar panels covering a wide range of topics. The first one that caught my attention was the VR Summit with an introduction and keynote by none other than Bob Cooney, the co-founder and former CEO of Laser Storm. He is always a very engaging speaker, so I took a seat, ready to hear what he had to say. However, I was not expecting what came next…the first appearance of RoboBob!

RoboBob won over the room ala Sheldon Cooper, as this was the real life version of one of my favorite scenes from The Big Bang Theory.

RoboBob was a way for Bob Cooney to interact with attendees in spite of actually being in Australia, which did not stop him from providing an engaging presentation about the state of Virtual Reality’s “IPhone Moment”.

Bob’s virtual panel led directly into the next speaker’s talk about Lightsaber Dojo and the lessons from launching a VR Star Wars game during a pandemic.

From there I took some time to explore the Westgate and enjoy some lunch before deciding which panel to attend next. I opted for the session on how to hire, train and retain the best people. Although this topic is not particularly relevant to me personally (as I am not an operator or business owner) the reason I chose this panel was because I was flipping through the schedule and saw that the discussion would be led by Beth Standlee, CEO and founder of TrainerTainment.

I have read Beth’s book and follow her monthly column in RePlay Magazine, so I was interested to see what she had to say. Ironically, she started the session by asking the audience why they decided to attend this particular panel and when she pointed to me I knew my reasons were likely different from everyone else, but I told her exactly that. Then I enjoyed hearing the viewpoints of all the speakers involved including Justin Ripp (owner of TOPFEC and Shenaniganz, which I have played in Texas), Todd Maunsell (Vice President of Cinergy Entertainment) and Jeremy Hoyum (COO of MYUAAP, Urban Air). They addressed the importance of trying something new to remind you how new employees feel and defining and developing your company culture and core values as a key to finding the right employees to align with your business.

Then my final educational panel of the day was the operator round tables where we moved between three tables and three discussion topics for operators to share their personal experiences. It was interesting all the way around!

By the time the laser tag round table came around I had enjoyed a very full day of amusement education and it was nice to have a chance to just visit and be social.

Erik Guthrie spoke to the group about the slightly different format for the convention elements this year and of course expounded on all things laser tag.

Following the reception we were all ready to go get a bite to eat. This was when we got the real Las Vegas experience. I joined with some friends including Erik, Eric, Jack, Simon and Ella and we went off in search of a restaurant. In the craziness that simply is Las Vegas, it was 7:30 on a random Tuesday and we could not find any place to accommodate a group of six for dinner! We were even told by the pizza place that it would be at least 45 minutes to seat and an hour and a half for food…on a Tuesday! And then it started to rain, lol.

I smile because these are the real memories that you make when you travel. After exploring all the Paris options, we eventually found some food near the hotel. By the end of this day we had all had a very busy start to the convention and were ready for some rest before the next day’s kick off to the Amusement Expo trade show. What a day enjoying the Laser Tag Convention in Las Vegas!

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