Thursday, September 11, 2014

Star Laser Force video

Many thanks to the Laser Tag Museum for permission to mirror this John Davenport report from the early days of Star Laser Force.

Here's a quick overview with commentary:

00:02 - The right-hand building included the offices, waiting area, ticket window, and later the party area; the left-hand building had the playing field.

00:06 - These were the early days. The front entrance opened directly into a small waiting area with a front counter -- a sensible floor plan for, say, a manufacturing company, but for a service business drawing crowds this rapidly became untenable. Parking in the rear became mandatory and you entered the back door of the building, passed through  a tunnel and into a larger waiting area (which included the new ticket window, vending/games, and space for parties).  The former waiting area became what we would now call the briefing room.

00:09 - That was the whole waiting area in the early days. The cameraman is standing in the corner next to the ticket window.  Benches were added later. I had forgotten they once had no place to sit! I sat on that floor, but only on my first visit.

00:11 - Does anyone know her?

00:15 - Ugh!  Those nasty plastic hairnets kept the heat from leaving your head and kept your hair saturated with sweat. Kids, this is why most battle places don't have helmets:  It's just too stinkin' realistic.

00:17 - This sequence would have taken place in the vesting room.
The attendant is holding the gun connector in his right hand and plugging it into the bottom of the bottom of the front box, then handing the gun to the player. This helped people to not get tangled in the gun cable when putting the armor on. Today manufacturers use coiled gun cables.

00:18 - Look how clean the armor was...

00:19 - If you look carefully you can see the gun holster on left side of the front box on the armor.

00:22 - The tech room.

00:28 - That is the gun sound of Star Laser Force.
The long breakaway barrels got knocked off the gun a lot. Eventually they were left off, or shortened. I would imagine it would be dangerous to step on a loose barrel, dangerous to be poked in the eye by one... seems like just an all-around bad idea, except the gun looks like it belongs to Han Solo!

00:30 - Here you can see inside the front box; the display board is visible without the aluminum cover.
Watch and see it start to count up 10 points, the penalty for being hit. Eyeballing the counting speed, it looks like you got only barely 4 seconds to hide before you could be hit again.

00:33 - Soon, all the walls were scratched up like that.  Looks like the snap-on helmet visors were never actually used in the game. I had wondered if they had once been used, but apparently not.

00:35 - Bill Lewis himself in one of the Transporter rooms. The wall treatment, the hatchway (shown) and the transporter sound FX (not used in the video) made the start of the game memorable and immersive.

00:44 - In small games, both teams could fit in the same Transporter and only 1 attendant was needed.

Seems like these helmets do not fit these kids very well... either that or their heads are still sweaty from the last game and they're trying to cool off.

00:47 - The cluster of barrels - there were only a few. What is that glowing thing?

00:52 - Leaving the bridge and turning to go down the ridiculously steep ramp.

01:04 - The final scene takes place on the Bridge, with the Saturn mural/viewscreen in the background.

Although short, this report was a real treat to see.  Thanks to whoever donated it to the museum!

Edit: new link