Obituary: Themed UV Painted Arenas

Obituary: Themed UV Painted Arenas

After many years of being on life support and with no signs of improvement, Themed UV Painted Arenas silently passed away… joining pet rocks and bell bottom pants in the history of what was.  

As many know, LASERTRON started experimenting with LED lighting in our Buffalo laser tag arena over 10 years ago. After six years of testing, we made the decision to focus 100% of our resources on creating the most immersive and interactive gaming experiences using LED lighting as one of the key components.  

It took an additional four years, but we finally created a truly immersive and dramatically more interactive player experience. We accomplished all of this by upgrading to our LT-12.9 Game System and fully integrating our Top Game Formats into our programmable and totally immersive LED illuminated arenas.  

In order to create the highest level of interactivity and immersion, we created our LT-X3 Arena Controller Boards (ACBs). Our LT-X3 ACBs are designed to work autonomously and in conjunction with our game system as well as multiple electronic devices and our custom LED lighting. We do not use DMX controllers or lighting devices due to their limited capabilities.

Every client who has experienced the intense and highly immersive gameplay of our Top Five Game Formats using our LT-12.9 Game System in our highly interactive LED Illuminated arenas has made the decision to go with our turnkey LASERTRON experience over all other UV arenas and equipment suppliers.  

It’s important to point out that black light UV painted arenas originated well over 30 years ago and remain stuck in the previous century. 

There are many arena companies who have yet to acknowledge the obsolescence of themed UV Painted Arenas. They continue to promote and sell dimly lit UV painted walls, obstacles, and props. They are locked into an antiquated paradigm and have yet to free themselves from the many negatives that plague UV painted arenas.   

Six Reasons NOT to buy a UV Painted Arena

#1 UV Painted Arenas are Significantly more Expensive to Maintain

This is due to the ongoing maintenance required to maintain a mostly wooden constructed UV painted arena.  

UV painted wood based walls and obstacles quickly show wear and tear. The walls and obstacles get easily scuffed, marked, chipped, cracked, splintered, dented, or worse. In addition, the UV paint effect fades over time.  

To repaint the average sized UV painted arena, it will cost between $50,000 and $75,000. The reason it is so costly to repaint is because multiple artists are required to travel to your facility. Once repainted all you get is another layer of paint.

There is also a hidden cost when choosing a UV painted arena. The client is responsible for the cost of installing all of the electrical conduit, fixtures, and UV bulbs. This expense should be recognized in the overall cost of a UV painted arena’s purchase price.  

The cost for the required electrical is between $1.50 and $3.00 per sq. ft. The total amount depends on the electrical that may already be in place. If it is new construction, it will cost more. The electrical for an average sized UV lit arena is between $6,000 to $12,000. 

Adding to the overall cost, black light UV bulbs also fade over time and must be replaced on a scheduled basis.  

#2 Limited Warranty 

UV painted arena obstacles are mostly made of wood based materials and come with a limited warranty that usually ranges from 1 to 2 years and often excludes normal wear and tear as well as abuse.  

By contrast, LASERTRON provides its clients with a Lifetime Warranty on all our arena obstacles.  

Important note, LASERTRON has never had to replace any of our molded plastic components in the 20+ years we have been building our arenas. 95% of our arena obstacles are made up of our extremely durable arena components.

#3 Virtually Non-Existent Resale Value

The UV painted arenas we replace with our 100% LED illuminated arenas go straight from the arena into 30 yard dumpsters, which cost the owners money to haul away (i.e. not only zero resale value, but negative resale value). 

In comparison, we had two different clients lose their leases after 10 years of operation. The first client put his LASERTRON arena parts in storage and eventually moved them into a new location. By reusing the vast majority of his original arena components and adding a small percentage of new translucent white components, which were used to replace his UV reactive components, he was able to provide his guests with our new 100% LED illuminated arena for a small additional investment.  

For our other client, we took back his arena obstacles and gave him a credit. We then informed a new client that we had a significant number of 10 year old parts that had recently become available. Our new client decided to use these parts and we were able to save them a substantial amount of money.  

It’s important to point out that it is difficult to identify a much older arena component from a new one.  

The extreme durability of our arena components is why we are able to provide our clients with a Lifetime Warranty. This is also why LASERTRON’s arenas have a significantly higher resale value when compared to UV painted arenas. 

#4 UV Painted Arenas Are Hidden in a Black Box for a Reason  

UV painted arenas produce a weak lighting effect, which doesn’t allow you to fully showcase and promote the arena to prospective players.  

Standard facility lighting as well as LED lighting causes the UV effect to disappear and is the reason why UV painted arenas must be and have always been hidden in a black box for over 30 years. 

(Photo of UV Painted Arena)

With a LASERTRON 100% LED Illuminated arena, you can fully glass the side of your arena, which gives your guests the ability to watch a LASERTRON game experience LIVE!  

Glass viewing windows turn your arena into a giant billboard that screams, “PLAY ME!”  

Large viewing windows showcasing your LASERTRON attraction will dramatically help you to promote and increase your revenue. 

(LED Illuminated Facades with Glass Windows Showcasing the LASERTRON Attraction)

(Top Down View)

(Henrietta, NY Center with Windows Showcasing our LASERTRON LED Illuminated Arena) 

#5 Themed Arenas with Wall Murals and Props Don’t get Noticed by Players

Go to any entertainment center that has a themed arena and ask the players exiting the arena what they liked most about their attraction experience. What you will hear from 99% of the players is the play by play of their actual game experience and, more specifically, their interactions with their teammates and the opposing players. What you won’t hear players talk about is the type of murals painted on the walls, obstacles, or the overall theme of the attraction.  

Even if you ask players to describe what was painted on the walls or what the obstacles looked like, they will have a hard time giving you an accurate description. WHY? Because the players aren’t paying us (x) dollars to look at the UV painted wall murals or props. They are paying us to experience a highly competitive and engaging game, which means each player’s brain becomes laser focused on the specific tasks required to successfully play and win the game.

If the players ARE able to tell you what was painted on the walls, then the game experience failed to produce a truly engaging, immersive, and competitive playing experience.  

The only part of the laser tag experience that CAN be designed to be habit-forming and memorable is the game experience. That is why LASERTRON focuses 100% of our resources on creating truly dynamic, interactive, and immersive game experiences. 

Arena Theming Companies have failed to understand that Form follows Function 

Arena companies have relentlessly promoted the idea that themed laser tag arenas will make you more money, but this is simply not true. Theming companies created this false narrative to sell more of their theming products and services. This over-promotion of themed arenas has single-handedly stifled the evolution of laser tag in a very big way.  

Theming companies have tried to convince prospective clients that the theme or look IS the function, which is 100% wrong. The theme, look, or form must ALWAYS follow the function.  

The function or purpose of the attraction is all about creating the most fun, exciting, and immersive game experiences. The look is the last layer that is added to the game experience. The look or aesthetics must be used to highlight and enhance the core attributes of the game.

If themed UV painted arenas appealed to anyone, it might be the younger youth market. Why? Because themed UV painted arenas are cartoony. The majority of the arena surfaces and obstacles are covered with UV paint, which makes it obvious to teens and adults that the theme is a fake representation of the look the artists were trying to recreate.  

Click on the following link: scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page to see photo after photo of UV painted cartoony and fake looking obstacles, walls and props. It’s important to note that the majority (if not all) of these photos have been altered to be dramatically brighter and the colors have been significantly enhanced (i.e. false advertising). If you visit any one of these arenas in person they will NOT look like what they are showing here (this link may change once we publish this article – we will do our best to provide the updated link asap). 

Themed, cartoony looking laser tag arenas are not going to attract significant numbers of teens and they certainly aren’t going to attract most adults – especially those in the most valuable adult market of 21 to 35 year olds.  

Think of it this way – would a child, teen, or adult pay us money to just walk around in a themed arena to look at all the painted walls and props? And, more importantly, would they pay to see it a second time? The answer is obviously – no. What they will pay us for is a truly exciting and engaging game experience. 

As we all have learned, we have to design our centers to appeal to adults, which means our attractions have to be designed to appeal to adults as well. If we design our attractions for adults, we WILL get them – if we don’t, we won’t.  

If we do design our attractions to appeal to adults, not only will we generate more revenue from adult players, we will get more revenue from families with kids and teens, because kids, teens, AND their adult parents want to play the coolest and most fun attraction experiences too!

#6 UV Paint Doesn’t Improve the Actual Game Play Experience 

The main lighting effect for a UV painted arena is a weak glowing effect that is static. The paint colors are what they are. They can’t change color or react to what is going on in the game. 

By contrast, LASERTRON’s LED illuminated arena obstacles, walls, and Sectors are designed to dramatically enhance and react to game play events before, during, and after the game in meaningful ways.  

It’s important to note that our arena obstacles are our lighting effects and our lighting effects are our obstacles. This feature enables us to surround the players in a truly interactive and immersive gaming experience. 

A prediction…

Because of the extremely limited interactive capabilities of themed UV painted arenas, most (if not all) laser tag theming companies will abandon their outdated marketing claims that promote ‘theming’ as an important part of the success of a laser tag attraction.

Key takeaway:  IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GAME!!!

A Dramatically Different Path

For over 10 years, LASERTRON has been heading down a very different path when compared to all the UV painted themed arena providers. In fact, over the last few years we have accelerated the introduction of many new arena and gaming innovations that are totally unique and proprietary to LASERTRON.  

We now have the ability to provide our clients with a Fully Branded Live Action LASERTRON eSports Experience.  

LASERTRON has been criticized by arena theming companies for using the word ‘Sport’ to describe our best game experiences. What is just plain wrong about these criticisms is that LASERTRON’s most popular, fun, competitive, and newest game experiences can ONLY be described when using the same words used to depict the best Live Action Sports as well as the most popular Online Video Games.

Words like: Offensive and Defensive Strategy, Teamwork, Rookie and Pro Players, Fans, Scoreboards, Player Scores, Base Targets, Sectors, Headquarters, Hills, Home Base, Team Games, Tournaments, Battle Royale, Seasons, Annual Winnings/Points, Medals, and much more.  

Important note: We will be going into much more detail in future articles about the importance of creating a truly unique, fun, exciting, and competitive sporting experience.

The journey our LASERTRON team has been on has been a very long one. And yet, it seems as if we are only at the very beginning.

Within our Buffalo, NY LASERTRON entertainment center, we operate the longest running laser tag arena in the United States. It is a large 9,200 square foot multi-level arena. The first level is 6,900 sq.ft. and the upper level is 2,300 sq.ft. At the end of this month, our arena will be celebrating its 31st birthday!

What I find amazing about our long history is that the last 4 years have been the most challenging, dynamic, and invigorating from an improvement and innovation standpoint. 

As always, our goal is to provide all of our new and existing clients with dramatically better, truly unique, and proprietary LASERTRON attraction experiences. Ones that make our clients a lot more money than all the other alternatives along with a much lower cost of ownership. 

Today and Forever – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GAME!!!

Thanks for reading!

800-897-8766 ext 106
Founder / CEO

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