Paintball, invented in recent years, has fast become one of the most popular in the United States. Actually, it is not that recent: It was first played in on June 27, 1981, in the small town of Henniker, in southern New Hampshire, and the first paintball gun was made even earlier, in 1970 by James Hale, of Daisy Manufacturing. Originally, his purpose was not to create a new game at all — he intended for his product to be used by farmers and ranchers to mark their livestock and their trees. A year after the first game was played, a person by the name of Caleb Strong opened the first paintball playing field in Rochester, New York.
Recently, I have been working on building a paintball website for a client and thought I would share some of my research. The rest of this article will introduce you to various paintball websites, describing them so that you can judge which is the best from a development standpoint. The subheading for the section on each site contains a link thereto.
This is Europe’s largest paintball forum. As with all sites of its kind, the forums are numerous and cover a range of topics related to the main subject. There is, for instance, a forum for platinum club members, though this has been marked as private; and others are divided into subcategories such as talking points, P8 talk, classified advertising and the techroom. I find the navigation to be quite lacking, but otherwise the site is pretty solid.
The Paintball Training Institute, with its headquarters in Bluff, Tennessee, offers the only class that covers every paintball impact option to the fullest degree — “How to Set Up a Modern Hi/Lo Impact Paintball Business.” This course is devoted, specifically, to explaining what causes impact pain and how you can market low-impact games in your area so as to minimize the risk of injury.
Training such as that provided here is in high demand because paintball is a game in which the risk of injury is great. For the same reason, various jurisdictions have enacted laws that regulate where paintball may be played, the design of the guns and where they can be used. It is a criminal offense almost everywhere to use a paintball gun outside of a regulated game or to point it at anyone without intending to shoot it.
Seven other classes in the same field are offered at the institute:
- Paintball High-Pressure Propellant Gas Systems Technician
- Basic Airsmith
- Paintball Safe Game Instructor
- Paintball Tournament Referee
- Paintball Recreational Game Referee
- Advanced Airsmith
- Master Airsmith
Each of these classes leads to certification in the particular subject being taught.
My biggest criticism would be the logo, which could use some work.
The last site discussed here is one of the most comprehensive paintball sites there are. In addition to its store, where you can buy guns, accessories and used equipment, Stock Class Paintball has pages on playing tips and an archive of articles on the game that date back to 2001. The latter page also includes fiction such as “Winning the Day” and “Synth War Reversed.”
I believe the design is not consistent and is outdated, which is a shame as the site could be much better with some small tweaks.
A marker and gear review site, the Paintball Professor is minimalist in its design but offers comprehensive reviews and guides. The site is modern and obviously cared for. The logo definitely needs to be changed though and the overall branding worked on.