ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Paintball And Its Origins

Updated on March 21, 2015

How It All Started

Paintball is one of those games that people have either known about and enjoyed or never heard of.

That's why many people think of it as a recent addition to the gaming world, but it's actually been around for close to thirty years. Its popularity took off relatively quickly back at the start of the 80 but its cultural reach probably didn't hit its stride until later on in the 90s.

The basic game of paintball was born out of three very distinct places. Two of those places were completely independent of one another and then the third is what brought them both together.

Interestingly enough, the first of these is originated in the last place you'd likely come to expect, the agricultural industry. The second place was simply the game of capture the flag, which is easy enough to understand.

tree marking gun
tree marking gun

Where The Idea Came From

Before bringing these ideas together, it's probably most important to understand how the idea of a game like paintball was conceived of to begin with. Its conception came about in 1976 when a few friends were out walking and discussing one of their recent trips to Africa.

There, the friend was able to take part in some pretty extreme hunting and the others desperately wanted to find some way to recreate that excitement closer to home.

They talked a lot that day about how to go about it and what the best things to hunt would be. Inspired by several different things, including a novel one had read, the idea of being able to hunt people, the ultimate prey, was tossed around. The problem was that there was no effective way of doing this through any simulated means.

It was sometime later that an odd invention was brought to their attention. An agricultural catalog had a nice advertisement for a gun that wasn't meant to do any damage. It shot out balls loaded with paint instead of bullets and operated by shooting compressed air rather than igniting gunpowder. It was this ad that really got the ball rolling.

The gun, they soon discovered, was never designed to be used on people. It was meant to be an easy and effective way of allowing foresters to mark trees from a distance and for cattleman to do the same with cows.

After some investigation, and likely a fun tryout, the guns were proven to be relatively safe when fired on people. They packed a punch, but otherwise the only effects were a splotch of paint and a possible bruise. The men then gathered a group together and set out to play what would become the first paintball game ever.

Sometime around 1980 the game was played but needing rules the men decided to model the initial play directly after capture the flag. Their version, known as Survival, came to be made in the process of playing and analyzing the play, so as to see what was and wasn't working.

Shortly thereafter an article about this game of theirs was published in Sports Illustrated. Knowledge about and interest in paintball slowly grew. Over the next couple of decades its popularity spread and today it's played by millions of people across the Americas.

Variants Of Paintball
Variants Of Paintball

The Game Variants

While paintball is usually referred to as a game, it's really more like a genus of games.

Within it are several more narrowly defined species.

That is to say, there is no one way to play paintball and every version of the game has its own rules, flavour and smaller offshoots of their own.

Below are a few examples of some of the more popular versions of the game to give you an idea of these differences.

When paintball was first conceived, initial play was modeled directly after Capture the Flag, a game that had long existed though never with a weapon. The basic idea of this is that a field is divided down the middle with teams on either side. Both teams hide a flag-or leave it in a designated station, depending on the chosen rules-and the object is to capture the opposing team's flag and bring it back to your side.

Capture The Flag

In a regular Capture the Flag scenario, people are tagged out physically or by having a scarf pulled from their belt, as is flag football. With paintball guns though, the people are taken out of the game by being shot.


In Snipers there are two teams. One team are the guards and the second are the snipers. Balloons are set out in a field and the guards must protect them from being shot. The game is won when the snipers have killed off all of the guards or burst all of the balloons, or the guards have killed off all of the snipers.

Though the finer points of the rules vary, there are generally time limits as well as a relatively limited amount of paintballs allocated for this game. At the start of the game, snipers are given an opportunity to hide, and the guards must keep a certain amount of distance from the balloons.

This paintball variant is played with two teams and generally requires a referee as well. The field of play is also smaller than in most other variants because it doesn't really call for sniper like tactics. The object of the game is for each team to get as many people as they can from one side of the field to the opposing side without getting taken down.

The winner of Deathball is the team who has the largest number of surviving players on the opposing side. Some variants of the game, however, call for flags to be placed around the field. A team can win additional points by stealing flags as they make their way across.

Raise the Dead

This is one of the more fun variants of the game of paintball because the focus is directly on getting your opponents shot. It's a timed game in which players are divided into teams. The object isn't to capture anything or get anywhere, it's simply that the team with the most players at the end win.

The twist is that there is a horn at the centre of the playing field. If a team blows the horn, their dead players can all come back to life, so to speak.

Strategy comes into play when trying to decide when to blow the horn and how to prevent the other team from doing so.

Perseption Of Paintball
Perseption Of Paintball

The Perception of Paintball

Paintball is a relatively new game, in the grand scheme of things. While it's been around for about thirty years now, most team games that are popular today have been around for quite a long time more.

Because of the fact that it's so young people aren't overly familiar with it and that leaves it as a pretty good target for misunderstanding, misperception and, as a result, dislike.

It's actually managed to become quite a hot button topic in a lot of circles. There are a lot of reasons for this, and the perceived dangers of the game are only a portion of the overall concerns. The danger is still the most attacked issue by opponents of the game though, with people feeling that paintball has far too much risk of injury associated with it.

Whether or not paintball is dangerous or not seems to be beside the point. Many of those opposing the game have never played or witnessed the game in action, and so don't really understand what dangers there really are. But yes, there are some dangers but no more than any other sport has to offer. Anyone being hit by a out of control baseball, for instance, will likely get hurt, and football is actually designed around the concept of tackling opponents. Let's not even get started on boxing.

One of the reasons that paintball gets more flack than these other sports is because of the basic equipment that's used. While other team sports have a fair level of built in violence, paintball actually uses guns. The fact that these guns don't actually kill is beside the point. What gets a lot of people upset is that there is a potential for glorifying gun violence through game play. More than that, the game manages to come across as trivializing real world gun violence by making it fun.

This negative perception of paintball only grows stronger when you take into account the gun laws in various states. By the definition of a gun that's written in to most of the laws, a paintball gun isn't seen as anything different. That means using them in certain areas is restricted or controlled; therefore, the perception of them being dangerous weapons is strengthened.

In response to all of this, some places have gone so far as to try to ban the game on a whole. Germany is one of the best examples as it had tried to pass laws that outlawed paintball without exception. In doing so, the lawmakers sited both the dangers of the game and the general disgust they had with the way it glorified and promoted warlike activities. The law has some momentum at one point but was eventually taken away.

In the end, paintball is only gaining in popularity and some would say that the controversy surrounding it is lessening. This is likely due to the fact that more people are coming to understand what paintball actually involves. That said, the growing acceptance doesn't answer the question as to whether or not the game glorifies or promotes guns, it merely means less people are worried about it.

Safety Rules

Many claim that paintball is a dangerous game but the facts are starting to show that it is really no more dangerous that other physically driven sports.

That said, as with other interactive games, paintball can be dangerous if the necessary precautions aren't taken. The safety rules associated with the game are important, and for the sake of the player, those around him or her, and for the sake of the game as a whole, these rules need to be followed.

Players should always wear goggles

When playing in a proper paintball facility this is something that's pretty much impossible to get around. For players that go so far as to purchase their own equipment for so-called backyard play, goggles are all too often ignored. Paintballs, however, travel as fast as two hundred miles an hour, depending on the type of gun that's used.

A small object moving that fast is the last thing anyone would want striking their eye. If it happens, the resulting injury will most definitely be severe and long lasting. Many studies have come back to show that there is a higher chance of getting an eye injury by playing paintball then just about any other game. Those same studies, however, underline the fact that it's the lack of safety equipment that allowed the injury to happen.

The paintball should only travel so fast

There is an industry standard in the paintball world that says the ball shouldn't exceed three hundred feet a second. Many places tend to keep that speed down even more, generally keeping the speed around twenty feet a second less. People operating indoor facilities are aware of the greater dangers due to the closer proximity of players, and therefore tend to choose weapons with even slower speeds.

It is possible through for paintball guns to be tweaked and modified. More than that, it's incredibly easy to bring the wrong kind of gun into an indoor facility. These are things that just shouldn't be done. While the weapons are designed to be as harmless as possible, they aren't completely without their dangers. Not respecting the agreed upon limitations will only result in doing damage to yourself or someone else.

Never shoot point blank

The speed of the ball comes into question again when deciding exactly how close you can be when firing upon someone. It's important to keep in mind that the whole idea of paintball is to be able to attack from a distance. It's a game about the hunt, not a game about executions. Firing a ball at three hundred feet a second upon someone standing just inches away is asking for trouble. It can cause serious bruising or worse.

Players shouldn't shoot blind

Shooting a gun blindly is frowned upon in some places and completely banned in others. The problem with shooting around a corner or over an object you can't see past is that you don't know what you're shooting at.

This type of action could result in hitting someone point blank, or hitting someone who has taken off their safety equipment for whatever reason.

Spyder MR100 Pro Paintball Gun Marker Mega Set - Olive
Spyder MR100 Pro Paintball Gun Marker Mega Set - Olive

This Spyder Paintball Gun has 5 stars on Amazon with great distance and accuracy. The mask is highly rated due the fact that it does not fog up and the loading time is fast for the weapon.

paintball scenario
paintball scenario

Preparing For A Scenario

Once you've played a few general games of paintball with friends and opposing teams, you may want to visit a field where you can participate in a paintball scenario.

Here are a few details you'll need to know before you head out, as well as some organizations and playing fields where you can try your hand at different variations of the game.

A paintball scenario is a pre-determined scene or premise that you will participate in once you enter the field. You can re-enact certain historical events, such as Battle of the Bulge, or you can play according to the scenario created by field professional.

During the paintball scenario, you may be required to rescue 'hostages' or to destroy an alien mothership.

The games can last for hours at a time, or even a few days or a week, like the Oklahoma D-Day or the Skirmish.

Thousands of people gather to participate in this paintball scenario annually.

When you're preparing for the game, you may want to arm your team with some extra weaponry, such as a tank filled with Nerf rockets; this will give you more ammunition, and will allow you to do away with more opponents at one time. You can even create an intelligence network for the paintball scenario game that will can be formed but before and during the game. Keep in mind that opposing teams may also construct booby traps, so try to scope out the playing field with your team as much as possible before the tournament, and while you're on the field.

Of course, you'll also want to make sure that you're safe when you're on the field, which is why you'll need to get the best gear for the game.

Since the paintball scenario games can last for up to 24 hours at a time, you'll need to make sure that your body is prepared to handle physical activity for this extended period of time. The most common problem players face is dehydration, so making sure that you have a water 'bladder', which allows you to drink without taking off your mask is ideal. Removing your mask for any reason during the game could be dangerous, so that water bladder, along with protective goggles with anti-fog lenses are best.

Selecting The Best Gun For Any Battle - Before you go into to battle you really need to know what the best waepon will be...

What I am talking about here is the Spyder range of paintball guns. These weapons come with what is called a fasta electronic loader which is very streamline making it not only easy for you to load but to aim and hit the target as well.

If you are new to the game of Paintball and don't want to waste time and energy trying to find all the accessories and weapons you need then you can also purchase a complete set of the gear you need to go straight into battle.

If you are experienced at paintball then you will definitely want to have a look at the Sniper set. You will be able to hit your mark fast making it much harder for any team to see or retaliate against you.

For those wanting to take it to the next level you can also get the military tactic package from Spyder which has everything you need to protect yourself and hit the make with deadly precision.

You never know we might just meet on the field of battle some time real soon.

Are You A Paintballing Warrior - If so leave us a comment and say hi...Maybe even a like or share.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)