When I was a wee tacker, one of the first real introductions I had to the world of laser tag was an 80s television show called "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future". It's more or less a forgotten part of 80s pop culture, but at the time it was some seriously advanced stuff that sort of.. well never got off the ground. But as lil' kid, it definitely had me hooked on light guns.
Never heard of it? Well let me school you...
Captain Power was a live action series that was really very ahead of its time, introducing those post apocalyptic themes of machines taking over the world that so commonly seen in current day sci fi. Captain Power was part of a resistance group who, similar to another 80's icon, the 'Centurions' could power up and call on some incredible power suits that would turn him and his crew into "one man armies" to do battle against the evil Lord Dredd and his robot minions.
The costumes and special effects were quite schmick for the 80s, and while the show itself had storylines that were aimed towards a grown up market, the big sell for this show for children was the "interactive" nature of it all; purchasing the toys that tied in to the show meant in certain scenes you could actually shoot at the screen and be shot at. Whoaaah!:P
One of my friends came back from the US with one of the toys- essentially a light tagger built in the shape of a futuristic fighter jet. It was not only restricted to television shooting, but also worked against another toy, so my friend would let me use his brother's jet and we would basically run around the house firing at each other. If you sustained too much damage, your fighter's cockpit would blow open and your pilot would eject. Pretty advanced stuff for its time.
Unfortunately at the time his VHS video tape didn't work in Australia, as it was NTSC (Australia used PAL) and this was pre multi region VCRS so we could never PLAY against the TV so I never really got what was the premise for the toys, but used them as a laser tag system and disregarded who Captain Planet actually was.
The show didn't actually air in Australia until about 10 years after I'd seen the toys, and more than well after they were probably broken or stored away somewhere else so alas I never really got to try the toys with the TV show. The show itself was always on at 5 in the morning, but after watching a few episodes I actually got quite hooked. Sure it's dated and cheesy, but it had a great story line. Apparently I wasn't missing much- the actual TV gameplay was pretty damn rubbish so playing it the way we did- as a laser tag system was definitely the most fun and definitely gave me the taste for laser tag that I'd keep with me for years to come...
The TV will fire back via gameological
Captain Power intro via YouTube
Captain Power Toys via the Virtual Toy Chest