If your parents ever yelled at you to get out of the house to get some exercise (or if your own conscience bugs you about it) but you didn't want to stop playing Call of Duty or Halo, Hasbro has a compromise: Lazer Tag, which mixes first shooting video game play with the real world. Update at the bottom of this post.
Actually this kind of iPhone/iPod plus gun virtual reality gadget isn't new. At this week's Toy Fair at New York's Javits Center, Hasbro's is the third such combination I saw; the other two are from TechnoSource and WowWee.
What sets the Hasbro Lazer Tag apart is the number of potential participants — 24 battlers can run amok and shoot at each other, as long as you're within 250 feet of each other.
Hasbro calls its real world+video game Lazer Tag experience "augmented reality." Download the Lazer Tag app then clip your iPhone or iPod into the blaster clip (see the second photo) and you get what is essentially a heads-up display. You can now track opponent locations, you choice of weaponry, points, rewards, remaining power, and access a leader board.
When your virtual or real opponent is within range — the blaster "sees" a sensor in the red dome on the front of the blaster barrel — in either a virtual or the real world, the blaster beeps. When you score a hit, your opponent is seen being hit within the app. With each successful mission you get upgradeable attacks, missions and gear.
Each blaster is powered by six AA batteries, and looks like this:
The only drawback is you'll have to wait until August to buy it; a single blaster is $40, a two-blaster set is $70. You'll just have to do push-ups get some exercise until then.
(Editor's note: A second drawback, as pointed out by our commenters below: the Lazer Tag system is iOS-only, at the moment. From Hasbro's release:
To experience the LAZER TAG game, players download the free LAZER TAG app to their iPhone or iPod touch device, connect their device to their LAZER TAG blaster, and find themselves immersed in a world where video games and real life connect.
So Android users — that includes me — are out of luck, but there are similar devices out there that'll work for whatever. -Kevin)