1987 was a time of hard choices for myself. My desire for toys, for action figures was finding itself being challenged by games being offered on the NES. I was still picking up G.I. Joe figures though. In addition to getting bit by the bug for the most futuristic sport ever known. I am referring to Lazer Tag of course. Then there was the lure of the Captain Power toy line. Throw in Hasbro’s possible attempt at edging into Galoob’s Micro Machines with Air Raiders and you can see why the shelves were getting crowded.
Thank you to The Toyark for this vintage photograph of shelves of 80’s toys!
Much like Hasbro did with their Transformers and G.I. Joe line. Air Raiders commercials totally made you sit up and take notice by way of some nice animation in their ads.
With all those other toys and games that I mentioned at the top of the post, there was indeed another reason that Air Raiders became a thing for me. I have told you before that growing up in a single parent household, money was rather tight. By 1987 that had all started to change a little. Quite frankly this new toy line from Hasbro was very affordable.
One of those reasons has to do with the fact you weren’t buying action figures like G.I. Joe. You were instead raising an army with 5-packs of soldiers. The villainous Tyrants of Wind and the defiant Air Raiders.
Picking up a vehicle would generally gain you a few more soldiers as well as special leaders. Case in point, with the Wind Seeker you add Master Sergeant Blot and Private Blight to your Tyrants of the Wind army!
Sadly and probably due to how crowded the toy shelves were at the time. Air Raiders didn’t find the demographic it was seeking. Beyond the handful of people like myself that is. However at the very least we fans got a few comics from the Marvel Star Comics line as well as two coloring books.
Of course we shouldn’t forget that the Air Raiders TV commercials survive to entertain us too. To show us the promise of what could have been a long lived toy line!
I am not certain about your thinking back in the day. But for myself I not only drank the Kool-Aid that was the idea of Lazer Tag as game. I also believed it was going to be THE ultimate sport of the future as well.
For myself I was lucky enough to actually get my hands on a Lazer Tag game kit back in the day. That was of course the basic set a Player would need. You received the StarLyte – which was the weapon of choice in the year 3010.
Then of course you had the StarSensor, which was rather important. How else would you know you had received enough hits to be out of the game?
Last but not least you had the StarBelt. While it is true its main purpose was to keep that sensor firmly in place. It at the same time offered the opportunity for a Player of Lazer Tag to cut a sporting figure. Making a fashion statement in 3010 was just as important back in 1986. That was when the game was released by Worlds of Wonder at the very same time as Entertech’s Photon laser tag system.
Now to be absolutely honest. Lazer Tag in 3010 looks a little like Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome mixed with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone!
Now most of you are well aware from the Diary Podcast that I work at an arcade. The Arkadia Retrocade. Which is how last night – thanks to the generosity of a friend, I had access to the game once again.
Naturally I found myself suiting up once again to play some Lazer Tag. Visions of the sport of the future filled my head as I slipped on the StarVest and StarHelmet.
Because of how many people were in the arcade…as well as being old. I chose to just look the part instead of running through the arcade. Maybe tonight though we can get a game going?
Now to help you get those images out of your brain. Check out this promotional video for Lazer Tag
I’ve never been into sports much…except for the greatest future sports of our time, Lazer Tag. I knew who the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was however and judging from this photo he was a fan of the sport that I loved as well.