Nerf ‘Blaster Tag’ provides alternative to laser tag, paintball

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Students, families and couples in the Provo area have found a new activity for dating and

Ari Davis
Local students shoot Nerf guns at Blaster Tag. Customers are given various Nerf blasters to compete with. (Ari Davis)

family home evening activities. Blaster Tag, a Nerf-based version of laser tag or paintball. Blaster Tag participants take aim with foam darts and disks, rather than lasers or pellets. Because of the ease of play, Blaster Tag opens up the playing field to people of all ages and abilities.

Owner and manager Chad Burton, a recent graduate of the public relations programsaid he and Co-owner Colin Robinson, opened Blaster Tag six months ago after seeing a missing link in the area’s laser tag and paintball market.

Burton said he aimed to spark some nostalgia in an area with two major colleges and a large young adult population because many students grew up playing with Nerf guns.

Burton said the games also provide a good family activity because the soft foam projectiles create a less invasive and more interactive experience.

Ari Davis
A Blaster Tag player takes cover in the arena. The players are split into two even teams while playing. (Ari Davis)

“(We, Colin Robinson and I) had seen ideas like this, and we love Nerf,” Burton said. “And we thought ‘You know what, this is the perfect location, the perfect time to start it out,’ and it all came together.”

Burton said Blaster Tag has been a big hit with the college crowd, which is usually looking for inexpensive social activities. Located halfway between UVU and BYU at 1756 S. State Street in Orem, the facility attracts students from both Orem and Provo.

“College kids are looking for fun and unique things to do that can bring a big turnout,” Burton said. “We offer a unique activity that you don’t see every day, so it’s perfect for that.”

UVU student Kyle Benson, who played with a large group of friends on March 3, said he was impressed at how Blaster Tag was run.

“It was very well organized and had a really fun staff,” Benson said. “I was very surprised at how much my heels hurt from running around so much. I probably should have worn athletic shoes.”

Benson also noticed the price difference between Blaster Tag and laser tag or paintball. Paintball players must first buy or rent gear and equipment. But Benson just showed up at Blaster Tag and started playing right away.

Ari Davis
Kyle Benson reloads his weapon. Blaster Tag has been open for six months.  (Ari Davis)

Ryan Van Woerkom, a BYU student who interns for Blaster Tag, said the best part about the Nerf fights is that they are unique from anything else you can find in the area.

“It’s offering a different take on the recreational date,” Van Woerkom said. “It’s something a lot of people haven’t seen before. It’s different than laser tag in that it’s a lot more interactive and you can actually communicate with the person you’re with.”

Burton said the major difference in the Nerf-based game compared to laser tag is the ability to see and feel whether a player has actually been hit or not.

“The game changer is that you can see the disk, and you can see the disk hit your target,” he said. “In laser tag, sometimes you get bummed out because you think you’re pretty sure you hit someone, but then you get out and you don’t know why. But here, you can shoot something physical and it’s a different kind of atmosphere.”

Ari Davis
BYU student Ryan Van Woerkom and his fiancée play Blaster Tag.  (Ari Davis)

Blaster Tag participants are split into two teams and compete against each other to achieve the objective in a variety of game modes, including capture-the-flag and team elimination.

Customers can bring their own Nerf guns to play in the arena, or upgrade from the standard guns to more powerful or effective weapons. Blaster Tag is open from 4 – 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 4 – 11 p.m. on Fridays; and 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturdays.

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