Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Debate's not Over Yet

I was rereading the Middle Grounders post (whose comment section was graciously ignored by all visitors) I wrote a while back and the associated World Dominance - Airsoft vs. Paintball post. Mostly because it seems to be a topic of interest for some. Steve over at 68 Caliber and Baca at view From the Deadbox, both recently touched on the subject again because airsoft was a topic of discussion at the recently held Paintball Festival.

It seems some are worried that adding airsoft to a paintball playing facility to expand its offerings would be detrimental to the health of paintball, namely it would take potential paintball players and turn them into airsoft players. To be honest, I don't disagree that would probably be the case.

But going back to the Middle Grounders post, I spoke about a field owners' need to find the middle ground in their paintball offering. Somewhere where the game is fun and exhilaration and adrenaline is flowing heavy enough to get people excited enough to come back, hopefully over and over again, but not so extreme that the desire to come back is diminished. Right now airsoft would be chosen by many because it's a game of tag where the discomfort level is very low in comparison to what most paintball fields are offering.

It would seem that if some ingenious inventor/engineer would be able to invent a projectile that would be less painful than a conventional paintball, but still had decent marking capabilities, had range as good as or better than current paintballs, that would be the answer to finding a middle ground between paintball and airsoft. The projectiles don't necessarily have to be goo filled spheres. We need someone to think out of the box. Perhaps coloured pellets, larger than airsoft pellets, so the physical sensory level is slightly higher, made of a material that breaks apart on impact and leaves a coloured powdery residue, as well as a puff of coloured dust in the air around the impact point visible from a decent distance.

Any takers? Let me know if you need a business partner.


  1. There's been a couple people to try and bridge that gap, to varying degrees of success.

    - .43 caliber paintball markers (although they tend to be cheaply made junk, and break easily (unlike the paintballs they fire)
    - Verdict airsoft marking bbs: http://www.greyops.net/2010/06/marking-airsoft-pellets.html

    What you seem to be describing is a low velocity simunition though. It would be great if simunitions were A) affordable and B) safe to use in a recreational manner, but unfortunately it seems like to make a low velocity round it would take considerable R&D, novel materials/propellant and manufacturing costs, which translates into a prohibitively expensive endeavour.

    In the end, I don't know if there IS a happy medium

  2. Anon. Lazer tag doesn't get the adrenaline flowing due to not affecting the physical senses (no pain). That's the whole point. Something between airsoft and current paintball would most likely attract the greatest number of players. But we don't want to lose range and flight characteristics (wouldn't hurt to improve them).

    Connor. At least you are thinking out of the box a bit more. I never said it was easy. If it was easy, we'd already have it.

  3. So you're saying laser tag would be more fun if players wore a pad strapped to their arm that pricked them a bit every time they were hit? Or maybe included a helmet that made a painful noise everytime a player was hit?

    I don't think that's really true. I don't think paintball is exciting because you're worried about the pain of getting hit. Paintball is exciting because of the excitement of finding and tagging someone else.

    Lasertag and airsoft don't stink because you don't feel it when you get hit, they stink because you don't get any satisfaction when you hit your opponent - because you have no idea you did.

  4. raehl, with many lazertag systems you do know when you hit an opponent. Lights flash and usually there is a sound indicator as well that let's you know the player has been hit. The hit player themselves usually loses power to his gun for a while as well, so they also know they have been hit. At least that's the way it was the couple of times I've played lazertag, and to be honest with you, the first time I played it, I quite enjoyed it.

    But it was nothing like paintball, knowing there were people out there hunting for me and knowing if they found me and hit me, I was going to feel it. Way more adrenaline pumping through your veins knowing someone was out there trying to inflict pain on you.

    Would lazertag be more "fun" if there was more "punch" to it? Probably not for kids, but I bet more adults would be interested in it. How many would depend on how big the "punch" were. With a small, fairly minor "punch", quite a few would be interested. But with a large, major, this hurts like hell "punch", only a few would be interested. The same holds true for paintball. A small, fairly minor amount of discomfort during a day of paintball, all kinds of people would be willing to take part. A heavy dose of getting teeth pulled wouldn't be much worse kind of discomfort, very few will take part.

    But really, everyone in paintball already knows this, even if they don't want to admit it to themselves. It's why participation in all pump play games, and hopperball games, and gravity feed only games are on the rise, and tourney ball participation has dropped. Small punch vs. big punch.