Funovation Debuts RAID at IAAPA Expo

After debuting their signature Laser Maze Challenge a decade ago, the Colorado-based Funovation unveiled their newest product today at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, Florida; an entirely new attraction named RAID. 

RAID, which stands for Rapid Alien Invasion Defense, offers mission-based challenges in pursuit of an ultimate goal: To beat planet-consuming probes sent to earth by an alien race – the Foci Storm. The entertainment attraction industry’s leading engineers have created a new technologically-advanced gameplay featuring aliens, puzzles, and an opportunity to save the world.

“Our newest attraction puts players at the center of the Aft Covin Union – a secret government organization charged with protecting the planet. The ACU asks players to go undercover and disable the probe without gaining the attention of alien surveillance,” says John Bonvallet, CTO of Funovation. Gameplay requires nimble navigation and puzzle solving within a time limit to evade alien detection and ensure mission completion.

“Pioneering technology for fun is in the DNA of Funovation,” said Ryan Borton, CEO of Funovation. The company’s premier product, the Laser Maze Challenge with Beam Buster, has continued to set the standard for the industry since its 2007 introduction, incorporating Oculas 3 moving lasers and TriNet 2 technology to enable component updates without shutting down gameplay. “Our team of engineers are devoted to continuous technological innovation, and Funovation extends that dedication with this new release.”

RAID’s fully inclusive turnkey installation means customers need only to provide the power and an 120 square foot area for the attraction.

RAID Key Features:

  • Immersive and interactive structure
  • Repeat play encouraged
  • Multiple levels (Washington D.C. and Tokyo released)
  • Scoring leaderboard fosters competition
  • Periodic gameplay upgrades and innovation
  • Integrated and evolving storyline

RAID Specifications:

  • 10×10 ft (3×3 m) gameplay area
  • 120 ft2 (36.5 m2) footprint
  • Turnkey installation
  • Under 2 minute throughput

RAID joins Funovation’s 300+ product locations in 29 countries.

We had the opportunity to talk to Funovation Chief Visionary Officer Ted Ziemkowski and Marketing Coordinator Lis Geraci at the IAAPA Show Floor.

C101: For our readers who might not know about Funovation, can you give us a little bit of background on the company?

Ted Ziemkowski: Funovation actually started from the movie, Entrapment – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sean Connery – they’re trying to get through a laser security system. I was working with a gentleman who did professional haunted houses and helping him out. We were talking about doing a “laser room” and he’s really the one who came up with the idea if you can do lasers and turn them on and off and trigger things, I can make a game out of it.

We went from chatting in his living room to the first laser maze, which ran next to his haunted house, and this was a few years prior to Funovation. We did that, made some money, went to a haunted house trade show, sold a system, installed it, used that money to go to Fun Expo, and sold a system there to a few guys who had a bus that they turned into the first mobile laser maze. We used that money and then came to IAAPA. Once we showed it there, it started to catch on, and that was 10 years ago.

The laser maze is nice because it’s a small footprint experience, its good for our customers for a revenue per square foot per hour perspective.

C101: How did the inspiration for RAID come about?

TZ: First of all, we now have kind of toolkit of really neat technology. We have our laser controllers that are laser safe, we have our software that does a lot of things including video capture and sales, logging players, keeping track of Top 10s. We’ve got our scanning laser, we’ve developed a cool network that we call TriNet, that’s an electrical network that can talk to devices and helps build a game.

With RAID, we wanted to come up with a more cohesive theme. The laser maze is nice because it’s very customizable, and you can attach a lot of themes to it. But at the same, it would be nice to build a bigger story. Creating a story that’s more of a simulation or emulation of something that would be kind of fun to experience. RAID kind of came from “Let’s really put some time and effort into a backstory. A themed attraction that allows you to be a little more immersive, and a little more disconnected from reality for a few minutes.

C101: Where will the first RAID go?

TZ: The first RAID will go to Loveland Laser Tag, in Loveland, Colorado.

C101: After RAID, what’s next for Funovation?

TZ: We’d like to make more RAID-like attractions. The laser maze is cool because we’d can make it customizable, but personally I like the backstory and creating a unique environment. Creating something that’s different from anything you’ve ever experienced. The laser maze is good, but it might not quite pull you in like something like RAID does.

Liz Geraci: The exciting thing about RAID too is, in talking about the puzzles on the walls, we can use the TriNet system to update from Colorado. As we update new technologies and ways to interact with the storyline. We can push that to people who already have RAID. It’s not a static attraction and can be updated for years to come. There will be new gameplay, new puzzles, and new levels.

C101: Anything else you want the Coaster101 audience to know?

LG: At Funovation, we’re really excited about innovating, and really providing that best in class experience. Our safety is best in class, our footprint is best in class, our ROI is best in class, our customer service is best in class. We’re just excited to interact with our customers and potential customers. We love hearing feedback about both RAID and Laser Maze Challenge, and we’ve taken that feedback to heart. Even in the past day, we’ve taken feedback from players, and changed a little bit that way. So if anyone has any suggestions, we’re super open to that. We love interacting with people who love our products. Reach out to us via social media, via email.

TZ: The only thing I’d add is that our company vision is to “Remind the World to Play.” That’s really the core of what I’m into. People become adults and they tend not to play as much anymore. To me, the essence Funovation – it’s a business yes, but I like to see people play again. It thrills me when we’re here at IAAPA and see someone in a suit go through the Laser Maze.

The very first IAAPA we came to, I think it was the Preisdent of Disney who went through our laser maze trailer in a suit. And I think his suit might have cost more than our Laser Maze.

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