Corporate Paintball

Some months ago, I came upon the idea of combining paintball and go-kart racing.  To date, I have taken no action in making that idea a reality.  My reasons are many, chief among them inertia and the high cost of insurance, two factors which have foiled so many of my schemes in the past.  And while paintball alone, or go-karts alone, are viable business models with easily-found equipment suppliers, paintball go-karts would have to be fabricated by the set designers from the Mad Max movies.

Today at lunch I was talking with some coworkers about the brilliance of paintball.  Actually, we were talking about how it’s easy to see why people in combat lose their minds, because just being shot at with paint pellets for four hours scrambles your brain a bit for the next couple of days.  And that’s totally true–play paintball sometime and you’ll understand.  And I’m not talking about one of those little warehouse deals, either.  I’m talking about running from tree to tree, searching for cover in the smallest wrinkle of ditch you can find.  Feel the adrenaline kick your body produces while dodging paintballs, and multiply that by about infinity, and that’s probably what combat is like.  Paintball will also give you the unique perspective of walking out your door and immediately searching for places you could dive for cover, or worse, searching for places where your enemy might be lurking until you get in range.  If paintball does that to people, I can’t imagine what going door to door in an Iraqi city must do.

That said, don’t hesistate to ever play paintball if you get the chance.  And if possible, do it outdoors.

During the conversation today one of the people mentioned they had played indoors and found it very unsatisfying compared to the outdoor experience.  Being the brilliant paintball mind I am, I began thinking of a way to turn the drab, cramped, black warehouse-style paintball experience into something more.

Here’s the deal: Corporate Paintball.  You rent a space and set up a faux office environment.  Cubicles, copy machines, “executive boardroom”, bathrooms, all of it.  The idea is, people are playing paintball in a place that they could plausibly imagine to be their own office.

To enhance the experience, you play different roles and scenarios.  One is called “Rampage! (Forced Retirement)” and features one employee who shows up to work armed to the teeth and ready to settle some scores with management and other select workers.  Once the shooter enters the office, it’s a duck-and-cover race over, under and through cubicles and desks to get back to the office supply room, which of course has its own arms cache.  The game is scored by seeing how many casualties the shooter can cause, and who can bring down the shooter.

Another scenario is called “Hostile Takeover!”, where the office is infiltrated by hostage-taking bandits from either a terrorist organization or Corporate Auditing.  One team plays the bandits, the other team plays the resistance fighters still left in the office.  Nobody needs to play the hostages because in this scenario the bandits kill them all immediately as a way of right-sizing the workforce.

Then there’s “Boss’s Day“, where one person plays the “Boss”, and everybody else tries to find him to “show him their appreciation” by killing him.  But be careful!  If your boss finds you before you find your boss, he’ll give you the “pink slip” by killing you instead.  If the boss dies, the next person in line gets promoted, and the cycle starts over again until everyone is either “appreciated” or “fired”.  (As an aside, I think the world of my boss, who today told a story about getting into his car and seeing a jar of what he thought were his son’s cherry sour balls and popping a couple in his mouth.  Turned out they were his son’s paintballs, but he didn’t realize that until he bit down and his mouth exploded with tempura paint.)

Alright, maybe the scenarios could use some work, but you can’t tell me that given a choice, a whole bunch of people who are playing paintball in a dingy, cramped warehouse with non-descript barriers and obstacles wouldn’t rather shoot up an office.  If you doubt me, you probably don’t work in an office.

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6 Responses to Corporate Paintball

  1. Jim says:

    I’ve never played paintball, to my chagrin, but I will say that these are brilliant ideas. Boss’s Day is particularly clever and hilarious.

  2. Sean says:

    Yeah, pretty good, I guess…but this is no excuse for not making the go-kart/paintball hybrid happen, which I believe is the single most brilliant business idea in many years. Also you should throw in radio-controlled model planes that rain down paint death from above.

    BTW, unless the paintballs were batter-fried, they were probably “tempera,” not “tempura.”

  3. Charley says:

    I think one of the lessons here is that if you see a jar or balls, don’t just pop them into your mouth unless you are really sure what kind of balls they are.

  4. kelly says:

    says Jack Handy

  5. schmelly says:

    this could happen… you don’t even KNOW how many vacant office spaces there are in the world.. spaces that are probably going to be gutted anyway before they are rented to new tenants…can you imagine the paint ball prospects in the millions of square feet of vacant office space in silicon valley? I would pay some bucks to be involved in a paintball office senario…no stinking hay stacks and barrels.. file cabinets and conference tables would be so much more fun.

  6. Jeff H says:

    Nice. Three thoughts spring to mind.

    1. One of the highlights of “Good Omens” (Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett) is a corporate paintball team-building exercise that goes awry when the participants’ guns transform into real weapons. As they realize that the safety is off, so to speak, the office workers all assume other departments are behind the switch and the hunt begins in earnest.

    2. A few years ago, I thought of this exact kind of thing — using real-world settings as a game environment — except I was envisioning mini-golf.

    3. I sat through a capabilities presentation of Microsoft’s Virtual Earth platform the other day. They’re building a collection of street-level images to augment the satellite and low-altitude aerial imagery. The stated idea is to allow you to drive your route virtually. However, I believe Microsoft is up to something bigger. Just think about it: XBox 360 + street level photography. Finally, you will be able to make your way to the Cold Stone Creamery in your neighborhood and take those cyborgs down a notch.

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