Paintball is a game where people shoot each other with guns that shoot paintballs. It began in the 1980s and quickly became a legitimate sport. Players use specially set up fields and equipment, and referees ensure safety. It is now a popular sport with equipment available at most sporting goods stores.
Paintball is a combo fighting game and survival hunting game. However, instead of hunting animals with guns, people shoot each other with guns that shoot paintballs – hence the name.
The first paintball gun was invented in 1970 as a tool for marking livestock and trees for digging. The beginnings of the games played today occurred in the early 1980s. It quickly established itself as a legitimate sport when Sports Illustrated ran a story about a paintball tournament. By 1993, it was receiving all sports media attention with the first telecast tournament appearing on ESPN.
Avid paintball participants play on specially set up fields. These contain specific borders, barriers players can hide behind, and neutral zones. There are also covered arenas for play complete with viewing areas and lighting.
The equipment used in paintball includes the gun and a face mask or goggles as minimum protection. There are also hunting suits that help protect and camouflage players. Advanced participants usually have special magazines and slings for their guns, which make it easier to run, load and shoot.
Referees and judges are often used in paintball competitions. Players must strictly observe the calls and orders of these officials. The referees primary role is to determine if a paintball shot is legitimate, meaning that it is large enough and was not made within the 25-foot shooting limit. Players must also stay within the appropriate field or field boundaries. To ensure player safety, tournaments often match players by experience and skill level.
Paintball has become such a popular sport that most beginner to intermediate level equipment can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. More advanced players can shop at one of hundreds of specialty stores or online outlets.