History of the Game of Paintball - The Paintball Centre
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History of the Game of Paintball


History of the Game of Paintball


Paintball is a recreational but also competitive sport played in all parts of the world in which players (of many ages and both female/male) equip themselves with a paintball gun (which shoots paintballs – a hard, rubber ball filled with paint), paintball mask, as well as any other form of protection and, are placed on one of two teams. From there, the two teams battle it out until one team is deemed victorious (usually when all players of the opposite team are essentially eliminated from the game).


Who invented the game of Paintball?

The founding father of paintball is Charles Gaines, an American writer and outdoors man who in the year 1981 organized the very first paintball game alongside eleven others in New Hampshire, United States. Using Nel-Spot pistols which were intended for marking trees and livestock by farmers/ranchers, Gaines and the others played several game scenarios including elimination and capture the flag.

Who was the first to sell paintball equipment to the public?

Although Charles Gaines is often referred to as the inventor of paintball because he organized the very first paintball game, he is not noted as having produced the very first paintball guns or equipment to sell to the public. Bob Gurnsey, an American outdoors man like Gaines but also entrepreneur, is the first individual to manufacture and sell the very first paintball guns (such as the Splatmaster and Rapide) and equipment to the public through his company, National Survival Games, which he formed sometime in the 1980’s/1990’s.

Where was the first official paintball tournament held?

Moving forward, the first major paintball tournament which featured competitive/pro teams playing for real money/trophies was held in the year 1983 in Canada and featured several teams from Canada and the United States. Furthermore, it was held and managed by Bob Gurnsey’s company, National Survival Games.

How has paintball evolved from past to present day?

Lastly, to touch on one more topic, the sport of Paintball has evolved tremendously over the past 20 to 30 years since the very first game was held. First and foremost, there are tons of different guns to choose from (back in the day it was limited to only a select few) as well as a large variety of equipment to wear and show off in terms of jerseys, masks, etc. Secondly, the sport of paintball is no longer just in Canada and the United States, it has grown to countries all over the world with many tournaments being held in places like Brazil, Mexico, etc. Third and lastly, paintball no longer just encompasses the usual capture the flag or elimination scenarios, there are a ton of new scenario types such as sspeedball woods ball and MIL-SIM which attract all types of players to these events.

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