To celebrate Halloween, the SAC Ballroom A was transformed into a laser tag area. (Yoon Seo Nam)

This game is a modern take on a couple of traditional children’s games: hide and seek, tag and dark room. Put the concepts together, throw in laser guns and sci-fi looking jackets and that is laser tag.

This game can intimidate a first-time player due to the darkness and the unknown element, but, once players get the hang of the game, it becomes addictive.

That is why Stony Brook University’s Weekend Life Council brings the laser tag event to campus annually. Laser tag on campus is an event that has students queuing up all night long to play.

The aim of the game is to wipe out one’s opponents with laser guns within a stipulated time. The dark setting helps players, who are grouped into teams, navigate around the room stealthily to catch their opponents unaware.

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While the experience is short lived and full of surprises for the players, it is not quite as fun for the team working behind the scenes.  The team works to maintain an incident-free event, the success of which depends on who the laser tag event vendor is.

Evening and Weekend Program Advisor Christine Noonan said, “We do extensive research on the vendors we select for events of this nature and hire the best.”

Laser tag events are precarious owing to the dark setting. Many first-timers are overwhelmed by the nature of the game and its rules. Darkness has a way of elevating sensation and reaction times, frequently leading students to accidentally injure themselves or their partners.

To overcome such incidents, the ground staff is vigilant and helpful toward participants before they begin the game.

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A mandatory briefing is given to all players before they enter. Equipment is checked periodically to ensure each player gets the full experience of the game.

“To assure the safety of participants, we limit each round of laser tag to 16 students at a time,” Noonan said.

Another major issue that Noonan and her team encountered is managing crowds.

The game, which has wide appeal, attracts more than 400 students on campus, Noonan said.

While the wait can sometimes be longer than expected,  there is a sign up list in 10 minute intervals for students to choose a time slot and come back closer to that time, reducing waiting lines.

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“We have many systems in place to manage the crowds…a Zombie Game Night in Ballroom B in conjunction with Gamer’s Guild to keep students entertained while they wait for their laser tag session,” Noonan said.

The laser tag event seemed to be the best with a gang of friends who do not mind staying up late, running around in the dark and feeling like a true soldier, even if it is only with a laser gun.

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