Dozens of Appalachian State University students gathered on Duck Pond field Thursday from 6-11 p.m. for a night of fun and simulated violence in the form of tactical laser tag.
Hosted by Appalachian Popular Programming Society’s Special Events, tactical laser tag was brought back to campus in response to its high turnout last fall.
“It’s a way for people to de-stress,” said Noni Alexander, the APPS special events chairperson for the event. “Everyone’s in the hustle and bustle of everything, and with laser tag you can just have fun and it doesn’t cost anything, so you might as well try it.”
Due to rain and unsuitable weather conditions, the event was stopped an hour early.
Groups of six to eight Appalachian students battled in competitive matches throughout the night. Prizes were awarded to the team with the most “kills.”
Entertainers John Straw and Shaun Sharp, both of whom work for Kramer Entertainment – the event’s equipment-vendor – said they hoped tactical laser tag would give students, particularly freshmen and transfer students, a chance to meet new people and find an alternative, fun activity to do on a Thursday night.
“This is an event to prevent students from drinking,” said Straw, a five-year veteran entertainer at Kramer Entertainment. “Whether it’s a black light dance party, laser tag, a comedian or a magician, we do all kinds of things to keep the kids from drinking.”
While some people remember laser tag as something from third-grade birthday parties, the game appeared to make a popular comeback among Appalachian students.
Alexander said APPS liked the nostalgia factor, and hoped the experience might bring back some good memories.
Sophomore criminal justice major Dennis Patten said the last time he played laser tag was when he was a little kid. Patten was reintroduced to the world of laser tag Thursday by chance, as he was walking back from dinner and was quickly recruited along with several friends from his residence hall floor. He said the thrill of the battle is what intrigued him.
“It gives you a feel for real combat, even though it’s very simulated,” said Patten, who joined the Mountaineer Mafia team.
Story: Liz Flamming, Intern A&E Reporter