Nice up-close look at a big toy store with some nice displays in New York City. The report itself is an interesting peek at the rise of technology in the toy industry: both Lazer Tag and Photon make an appearance. At 2:16 you’ll see the Masters of the Universe and Thundercats aisle representing the old guard.
The first two are from 1985, and the last one is from 1986. I talk about Photon here. Some close-ups of the Karate Kid action figures are here.
I never had any of LJN’s Thundercats toys, but they look really good.
(Images via tOkKie-Pokie)
The kid is Matt on Fire, and he is also wearing Lazer Tag pajamas, a version of which can be seen below via Kitschy Kitschy Coo.
Select pages only. See the whole catalog at Monster Masks.
Photon, believe it or not, was a short-lived live-action TV show based loosely on the game. It looks totally kooky and I wish I could get a hold of it. Lazer Tag spawned Lazer Tag Academy, an animated series that ran for one season, and also an animated movie.
There were four major reasons original laser tag was a short-lived fad, with both Photon and Lazer Tag ending production in less than 5 years. First, Lazer Tag, the more popular brand by far, came out in November 1986, and the units were drastically underproduced when demand was highest. Second, the technology may have been cleaner than paintball, but it was much less effective. Nothing pisses off a kid more than a hit that doesn’t register. Third, the units were expensive (about $50 in 1986) and playing alone was boring, so you and a friend (or, better yet, friends) had to convince the respective parental units to shell out. Four, there were very few official arenas to support team play and provide the futuristic atmosphere the game required (as played up in the commercials). By Christmas 1987, we had moved on to something much bigger and better: the NES.
One last thing. Laser tag wasn’t immune to the biggest toy gun problem of all. In 1987, a group of teenage boys was playing Lazer Tag at night in a California elementary school. A neighbor called the police, and when a sheriff’s deputy arrived, one of the kids, thinking the deputy was a player, jumped out and “tagged” him. The cop shot twice, and the kid died.
(Ad image via X-Entertainment)
Only in America, and only during the 1980s. LJN’s Entertech line (1986 – 1990) was hugely popular, and might’ve saved its parent company if not for all the cops shooting kids holding realistic-looking weapons. All toy guns were required to be fit with an orange tip starting in 1989.
Photon was the first laser tag unit to be sold commercially (1986), followed almost immediately by the Lazer Tag brand (released by Worlds of Wonder). Both were out of business by 1990.
LJN also produced a Gotcha! The Sport! NES game and paintball gun in 1987, based on the 1985 movie.
There were several memorable commercials for Entertech products. I’ll dig some up.