In the UK paintball has become a neatly packaged past time that has been cleverly moulded into a safe and acceptable past time. It is no longer under threat from being banned or legislated against; back in the 80’s the press once labelled the paintball community as neo-nazi’s looking to engage in murderous roll play. Over the past few decades it has fallen into its safe place where even the royals are seen picking up a paintball marker to take aim on their friends. Paintball is now a safe and acceptable past time.
Even the word 'gun' has been cleverly changed into 'marker'. This 'safe' format has even become popular in many other countries, first time rental players are now battle dressed in non-camo overalls and often seen going into battle wielding brightly coloured hoppers onto of their marker. It’s so safe now, we're no longer shooting each other, merely marking each other in a very non-military way. Eliminated. Very safe for the industry...but is it what the customer wants?
Paintball falls into three categories, Rental, Walk-on/Scenario and Tournament. In that order it also tends to form the progression from 1st timer to the eventual crescendo of a players paintball fulfilment, which is usually tournament paintball. There are the few that don't follow the traditional path, not all players want to leave the dynamic of the woodland for arena style paintball.
But there is a problem with the standard scenario paintball, the problem is, it leaves little to the imagination. Paintball should be the ultimate adventure, it has the capability of emulating Call of Duty with a real life dimension that no video game can offer. Every time we step in the game fields ultimately we are looking for that depth of enjoyment that the sting of a paintball brings, that's real adrenaline mixed with a few drops of fear….it really makes your heart pump.
The UK has some of the finest fields and events worldwide, the problem is simply not allowing the game to swing into full indulgence mode. Walk on days at most fields have a mix of 'tournament air finger shooters', a sprinkle of badly kitted up rentals to bolster numbers and the guys who are resisting the pull to defect over to Airsoft.
There was a time when camo was banned from the tournament arenas. It would not be such a crazy idea to swing this rule around and turn away the tournament shirts at the door. Walk on/scenario play should not be a mishmash of tournament ballers and woodsballers it just ruins the vibe....
So before the airsoft community signs up the final woodsballers there is been a new breed of player emerging..