Wednesday, August 10, 2022

What is Bullseye Blast? Amusement park halts sniper-like game amid backlash after mass shooting spikes

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The game had riders on the 400-foot wheel at ICON Park pay an additional $5.95 to shoot laser blasters at 50 targets placed along the rooftops

Florida’s ICON amusement park, where a teenager fell from a ride and died earlier this year, has suspended a new sniper-like laser shooting game called Bullseye Blast amid criticism following a recent spate of mass shootings.

Riders of the 400-foot (122-meter) Wheel at ICON Park could play the Bullseye Blast game for an additional $5.95 and shoot laser blasters at 50 targets placed along rooftops throughout the park. Officials said in a statement Saturday, July 16, that although the ride was “well received” by customers, some took it after mass shootings at a July 4 parade at a suburban Chicago elementary school in Uvalde, Texas , and criticized a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

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“Some non-guests and community members expressed that they used to think the toy gun was insensitive,” the statement said. “The attraction industry has many similar games that use similar launchers, so exploring the game was limited to that. However, we believe that a device can and should be designed that does not offend anyone in the community.”

Meanwhile, park officials said they look forward to “leading this new innovation.”

Bullseye Blast was removed from the park’s website, which previously contained the following description of the game: “To get the highest possible score, players must hit as many of these as possible with their laser blaster during the 18-minute ride.” Promotional photos showed riders , which displayed laser guns from the popular ride. In recent days, however, the game has caused an uproar on social media. While some blew up the ride, others scoffed at the park for suspending play.

ICON Park on Orlando’s International Drive has been mired in controversy since the tragic death of 14-year-old Missouri Tire Sampson, who fell to his death from the Free Fall Tower earlier this year. The teenager was later found to be nearly 100 pounds over the ride’s recommended weight limit, and his family has since filed a lawsuit against the park.

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The park unveiled the Bullseye Blast in a press release on Thursday, July 14. “The Wheel at ICON Park is the only observation wheel in the world to feature this amazing new infrared technology, effectively transforming the experience and reinvigorating audiences of players,” the release reads. As the New York Post reports, the blasters featured a scope and infrared rays to help players aim at strategically placed targets on rooftops around the park.

Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Dennis Speigel, founder and CEO of International Theme Park Services Inc, said he was surprised that ICON Park executives didn’t consider the negatives before approving the game. “Seeing those simulated guns aimed at you from that height, from all those cars, just doesn’t seem like the right decision,” Speigel told the Sentinel on Friday, adding, “It’s a bit bizarre.

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