From ducking, sweating and running as a kid in a backyard with Nerf blasters, to anxiously sitting in a hot station wagon for about an hour and a half on the way to the only laser tag arena in town, Nerf and laser tag are part of many adults fond childhood memories.
When was the last time that you played laser tag or had a solid Nerf battle in your backyard?
For me, it was last week when I played over nine games of laser tag at a local arena (that’s what happens when you get an unlimited pass), topped with another few Nerf battles in my backyard over the weekend, complete with a post battle competition for who could pick up the most Nerf Mega AND Elite darts.
Those of you who share my passion may be interested to learn that Hasbro has released the Nerf Laser Ops Pro line, a connected play experience that transforms your backyard into the ultimate laser tag arena.
No bulky vest to wear, no darts to pick up, unlimited ammo and connected play, the Nerf Laser Ops Pro line uses AR to bring a video game-like experience into the real world.
What’s it’s all about?
Right out of the box, Nerf Laser Ops Pro blasters are ready for head-to-head, live-action laser battles with unlimited shots of infrared bursts.
Target sensors are located in the plastic dome near the top of the blaster. By design, this makes it tough for players to cover up sensors. The result is a much more challenging game than laser tag back in the day, where untrustworthy people would wear their vest inside out while zapping players.
Each blaster comes with a sporty armband to hold a users smartphone device. Players can super power their blaster battles by attaching their smartphone to the armband and downloading the free Nerf Laser Ops Pro app (for select iOS and Android devices).
The Nerf Laser Ops Pro app offers access to real-time battle intel allowing players to customize their blasters, track their performance, earn power-ups, locate opponents during battle and check out how they stack up on the global leaderboard. Up to 64 players can play in one game, a much higher player count than most conventional laser tag arenas. Players have the option to choose competitive play, team play or single player.
Attach your smartphone to the Alphapoint Blaster, launch the Nerf Laser Ops app, select single player and jump into a drone zapping, videogame-like AR experience. Zap, blast and destroy the dastardly drones and win big.
One of the most exciting bits about the Laser Ops Pro line is that it works with or without phone. So, if your kiddo, neighbor, family friend, second cousin, whoever you don’t feel like sharing your phone with, asks for a turn, there are more ways to play so everyone can have a blast.
The Nerf Laser Ops Pro line includes three power packed options; the Deltaburst Blaster, Alphapoint 2-pack (retail price: $44.99) Alphapoint Blaster (retail price: $29.99) all available online and hitting most major retailers in August.
How does it measure up?
Competition is getting fierce when it comes to connected play, with an anticipated growth of 200% over the next five years connected play is more than fun and games; according to Juniper Research, “Smart Toys will represent an $18 billion hardware and software market by 2023, up from an estimated $6 billion in 2018.”
At CES the MERGE 6DOF Blaster was described as “the closest thing that we have to an AR Nerf Gun”. The MERGE 6DoF Blaster requires a smartphone to play and uses six-degrees of freedom positional tracking, its like VR without a headset plus, it leverages the tech embedded into current smartphones to provide buzzing haptic feedback and the flash when blasting.
Recoil by Skyrocket, also requires a smartphone to play; it offers up GPS based gameplay, comes packed ready for a multiplayer experience out of the box with 3D sound, AR based weapons and a wifi gaming hub that allows for up to 16 players to battle it out.
All three products offer up a video-game like AR experience that gets kids moving in the physical and digital world. Nerf Laser Ops Pro does a good job of taking what everyone loves about Nerf, laser tag, AR blasters and connected play, and packaging it in an affordable, accessible way to play “with” or “without” a phone.
The kids aged 8-10 that I spoke with regarding the Nerf Laser Ops Pro line said, “I want it now – it’s like playing Fortnite in the backyard.” Parents were also excited because they could finally relive their laser tag dreams without leaving their backyard.
Hasbro has the advantage of creating and evolving the Nerf Laser Ops app platform through the Nerf product line, Hasbro entertainment properties and licensing partnerships. Will we see Nerf Star Wars or Nerf Zombie Strike added to the Nerf Laser Ops Pro app? With more ways to play with brands kids know and love, bring on the Nerf Laser Ops Pro line and let’s zip, zap and jump into the a global laser tag arena together!
Image Credit: Hasbro