laser_chessLight Guns

Light guns in games go back to – are you ready for this – the 1930s. The Seeburg Ray-O-Lite, a duck hunting arcade game, used a light gun. The duck had a sensor that would react when the light hit it. Other followed, and you could find them at amusement parks and carnivals.

Typical gun-like console controls didn’t emit light at all; they actually sensed the light on the CRT. I don’t know much about Wii guns, but I doubt they work this way.

Laser Tag

Laser guns” from the late 1970s used infrared beams. Laser Tag became a toy, a sport, and an entertainment industry starting in the 1980s. When lasers are present on the guns, they are not used for the actual shot, but only as an aiming device.

Laser Board Games

A patent from 1970 by Gerald Estrin presents a board game where the object is to direct a beam of something – light or electricity – from your side of the board to a target on the other side, using mirrored pieces placed at 45 degree angles in set locations on the board. Another patent from 1992, assigned to “Entercon Technologies”, claims essentially the same game, but with lasers; it’s claims for originality are that “Estrin does not contemplate laser technology”.

I have no indication that anything ever came of either of these patents.

Laser Chess was a video game from 1987. The idea is, once again, to arrange your pieces so that a laser reflects off the pieces on the board to hit a certain target. There is a site devoted to the topic, and an updated version from Tray Games.

Of course, DVD games all use lasers, in an indirect manner.

The first example I know of an actual working laser board game was in 2001: Laser Chess from Alexandre Van de Sande. You can read about the rules and construction on his site. Alexandre tells, “… my game never was meant to commercial production and can be considered almost a one time art project.”

So we come to Deflexion in 2005, now renamed Khet: The Laser Game. Khet is an Egyptian-themed game that uses the same idea as the previous games: move a piece and try to reflect the laser to hit your opponent’s piece. Khet has two expansions: Eye of Horus and Tower of Kadesh.

In 2006, MGA Entertainment released the similar Laser Battle.