For kids of the 1980s, laser tag -- spelled "Lazer Tag" by the gamemakers -- was amazingly important. These electronic ray guns actually shot invisible beams of light and tracked your hits on a wearable target. In short, they were the coolest thing since Monchichis.
Hasbro has recently resurrected the brand and offered us a chance to try out their new version complete with iPhone interactivity that turns the skill of shooting targets with lasers into high art.
The new guns, to be launched this month, feature two ways to play. You can run around aiming and firing at each other and a voice prompt will tell you the number of hits and when it's time to reload. You can also shoot "bombs" that hit players in the vicinity. The game supports a free-for-all mode, or you can set set up different teams of players so you can't hit others on your team.
If you add an iPhone, however, the game really shines. Using a free app, you can either play in multi-player teams or alone against virtual enemies that pop up on your iPhone screen. The system connects via the headphone jack and supports iPhones and iPod Touches.
Most importantly, however, is gun design. The phones are almost completely encased inside the guns using a locking latch that ensures that nothing - not even some rough-and-tumble play - can break the device. Sure, a direct hit to the screen could ruin your day, but the kids can run around and have a bit of fun with, say, Dad's old iPod Touch installed.
We played this a bit around the house and while we don't really condone gun games, these things were pretty cool. Since you didn't have to fight against others, it was good for a bit of solo outdoor fun during these last few weeks of summer.
The guns will cost $40 each or $70 for a set of two. You don't actually have to own the guns to play the free iPhone game by downloading it here. It's rare that a toy from the 1980s ever makes it into the 2000s unscathed, but I think Hasbro might have made one of the coolest throwbacks in recent memory. Now if only I could get the announcer from the original Lazer Tag commercials to narrate my adventures in the backyard.
Did you used to play Lazer Tag?
Top image via Hasbro