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Laser Quest
Type Private
Founded Manchester, England (1989)
Headquarters Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Industry Lasertag
Website www.laserquest.com

Laser Quest is the name of a Canadian-based indoor lasertag game based around infrared (IR) hand held units and vests, as well as the name of the company which operates each game center. There are over 140 Laser Quest centers worldwide, including ones in Canada, the United States, the UK, France, Portugal, Singapore, Costa Rica, Thailand, South Africa and The Netherlands. Laser Quest's oldest center is located in Stourbridge, West Midlands, England.[1]

Contents

Overview of Laser Tag

The general aim of laser tag is to tag your opponents as many times with one's laser as possible, while avoiding being tagged oneself. The players are equipped with an infrared/laser hand held unit and a pack with infrared sensors. Players start the game in a large multi-level maze-like arena filled with ramps, catwalks and windows. In Laser Quest centers, the playing arenas are filled with theatrical fog and black light, strobes and UV-reactive painted surfaces. While play can seem chaotic, there are rules that are enforced. Players recite a code of honor in the equipment area, known as the airlock, in which they vow not to run, jump, climb, physically contact anyone, or use bad language. At least one Employee or "Marshal" is present in the arena at all times, to ensure fair and safe game play.

Equipment

Every LQ center is equipped with approximately 30 packs, which are also called vests or ponchos, this number varies with busier arenas having more packs to accommodate larger crowds. The pack is made of a thick canvas-type material that hangs over the shoulders. When laid out flat on a table the vest forms a diamond shape. Sensors placed on various parts of the vest covering the chest, the back, and each shoulder. Additional sensors are contained in the hand-held 'laser gun' unit (see below).

The infrared sensors are attached to printed circuit boards, which include red and green LEDs that light up when the pack is active. Each PCB is housed in a hard plastic cover, part of each cover is made from clear plastic to allow the IR beams to reach the sensors. The rear PCB and the two shoulder PCBs are connected to the front PCB via flat eight conductor Cat-5 cabling. The front and rear PCBs are interchangeable as long as the front/rear dipswitch is switched correctly. The front cover also contains the vibrator motor which operates by the quick imbalanced rotation of a weighted cylinder. The datalink is a small PCB housed in the rear cover with an antenna wire that runs up to either one or both shoulders that allows the pack to communicate with the LQX computer.

The actual processors for the pack are kept in the hand held unit, more commonly known as the laser. The laser is attached to the pack via an eight conductor Cat-5 cable that connects to the front PCB. Inside the laser shell is the PCB with sensors and lights, a speaker to indicate the status of the pack, a trigger, and an LCD to display the status of the pack to the player. Although now sold and repaired as one piece, the IR unit and the PCB are two separate pieces. The IR unit is what emits the visible laser your eye sees and the invisible IR beam which "tags" the opponent's packs. The IR unit is a metallic cylinder roughly one inch in diameter and one inch long.

LQX is the name for the main game computer which maintains mission time remaining, registers code names, activates games, runs the Member's Terminal, and runs the score monitor. LQX is run on Windows 3.11 and communicates with the packs via a wireless high speed data unit.

Scoring

Laser Quest players gain points by tagging other players or by tagging the opposing team's base. They lose points when they are tagged by other people, or when they are caught in a trap. The number of points lost depends on where the player hit and game settings. The scale for a typical game is as follows:

  • Laser: 3 points
  • Front: 5 points
  • Shoulders: 3 points
  • Back: 4 points

Tagging another player gains a player 10 points, no matter where the other player is hit. Being tagged by the Marshal or (when applicable) by a trap costs 50 points. Tagging the opposing team's base (when applicable) gains a player 50 points. Players always gain more points for making a tag than they lose for being tagged.

Players may also be awarded bonus points based on their accuracy—usually 10 points for every 1% hit rate. In other words, if a player achieved a hit rate of 10%, he or she would be awarded 100 bonus points. This is usually limited to a maximum bonus of far less than the theoretical maximum of 1000 points in order to prevent people tagging one person with their first attempt and then hiding for the rest of the game (typically around 200 points).

The team score is the sum of all the individual players' scores (when applicable).

Game variants

The hardware and software used limit what types of games a Laser Quest center can hold. Up to four different groups of settings can be created; it is normal for everyone on a team to have the same settings, though this is not required. When giving packs within a team different settings, the packs will not be visibly different in-game.

The settings which can be altered are:

Available settings options standard game settings
Game type All-on-all, 2-team, 3-team All-on-all
Game time (minutes) 1 to 99 20
Number of lives 1 to 99 or unlimited unlimited
Number of shots 1 to 9999 or unlimited unlimited
Downtime (seconds) 1 to 99 2-5
Shoulder sensors on/off on
Laser sensors on/off on
Bases on/off -
Replenishers on/off -
Replenisher values for lives and shots -
Sentinel effect on/off -
Sentinel values for lives and shots -

The number of shots used can be quite large; in certain game types, players routinely fire 3000+ shots. This will give an accuracy rate of perhaps 5%. This seemingly low amount is a result of constant firing and dodging, as players are not directly penalized for missed shots. The average is 6% ratio of accuracy.

Downtime is defined as the period of time after a player is tagged that they remain deactivated. After the downtime has expired, the de-activated player's pack will re-energise and they are able to play as before.

North America Challenge

Laser Quest holds a corporate tournament called the North America Challenge, or NAC. To qualify for NAC, members from a particular center hold a series of tryouts. The top nine players, plus one potential alternate, then go to one of three regional tournaments held in June of each year. The top teams from each of these regional tournaments will then proceed to the continental tournament, typically held in September. The top teams from each regional tournaments compete in the national event to determine the best team in Laser Quest.

Beginning in 1999, and continuing until 2007, the top five teams from each of the four North American regions advanced. Following a series of center closures, and new centers opening, regional lines were redrawn and three regions formed. [2]

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NAC Champions & Runners Up

Year Winner First Runner Up Second Runner Up Consolation Winner Finals Location
2010
Details
TBA TBA TBA TBA Hoffman Estates
 IL
2009
Details
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
TSA
Toronto
 ON
Federal Way
Seattle
 WA
Team OFF
Hoffman Estates
 IL
Las Vegas
 NV
2008
Details
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
ShadowZ
Lincoln
 NE
TSA
Scarborough
 ON
Team OFF
Hoffman Estates
 IL
Hoffman Estates
 IL
2007
Details
9 Deadly Venoms
Houston
 TX
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
Team OFF
Hoffman Estates
 IL
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
Gwinnett
 GA
2006
Details
ShadowZ
Lincoln
 NE
Westland Wolfpack
Westland
 MI
42
Appleton
 WI
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
Las Vegas
 NV
2005
Details
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
9 Deadly Venoms
Houston
 TX
Westland Wolfpack
Westland
 MI
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
Mesquite
 TX
2004
Details
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
9 Deadly Venoms
Houston
 TX
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
Rochester
 NY
2003
Details
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Westland Wolfpack
Westland
 MI
ShadowZ
Lincoln
 NE
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
North Richland Hills
 TX
2002
Details
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
9 Deadly Venoms
Houston
 TX
ShadowZ
Lincoln
 NE
Norridge
 IL
2001
Details
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Westland Wolfpack
Westland
 MI
San Antonio
San Antonio
 TX
Austin
Austin
 TX
Colorado Springs
 CO
2000
Details
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Tulsa Whoopdonkeys
Tulsa
 OK
Westland Wolfpack
Westland
 MI
Scarborough
 ON
1999
Details
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Austin
Austin
 TX
NRH
North Richland Hills
 TX
North Richland Hills
 TX
1998
Details
9 Deadly Venoms
Houston
 TX
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
Armageddon
Lincoln
 NE
Mesa
Mesa
 AZ
Knoxville
 TN
1997
Details
Team MAD
Madison Heights
 MI
Paragon
Denver
 CO
Oshawa
Oshawa
 ON
Phoenix Pyros
Phoenix
 AZ
Downers Grove
 IL
1996
Details
Oshawa
Oshawa
 ON
London
London
 ON
Brampton Brew Crew
Brampton
 ON
Charlotte
Charlotte
 NC
London
 ON
1995
Details
Oshawa
Oshawa
 ON
Brampton Generals
Brampton
 ON
Brampton Wildfire
Brampton
 ON
London
 ON

(ELC) European LaserQuest Championship

This 9-man constructed team tournament consists of players from UK, France and Holland (Starting 2010 USA and Canada will join as well). The tournament is held annually, with the location alternating amongst participating countries. 2007 championships were held in Longwell Green, Bristol the cup finals was won by Sorry Team, with LQ Legends winning the plate finals. [3] The 2006 cup finals were won by LQ Legends with Badgers winning the plate final held in Eindhoven Netherlands, the 2005 event was played in Reims France.[4]

In 1993 Claire Richards, who was later to find fame with UK pop group Steps, came 3rd In the European Junior Championships.

See also

References

External links


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