New event venue to bring foam sword fighting to Wauwatosa

Local startup MagneTag taps market

MagneTag-Milwaukee Art Museum
People playing MagneTag at a Milwaukee Art Museum event. Photo courtesy of MagneTag LLC

Last updated on April 21st, 2022 at 10:30 am

The founder of a Milwaukee-based gaming technology startup is planning an East Tosa event venue where people could test out a new game that combines laser tag and sword fighting.

Tag Tosa would open this fall at 6410 W. North Ave., Wauwatosa. The 700-square-foot space would include the game, known as MagneTag, an arcade, virtual reality and a lounge area, said owner Adam Cohen.

Cohen began developing MagneTag about eight years ago as a hobby project. It later gave way to a prototype, and in 2013 Cohen and friends Jason Hilleshiem and Chris Wilson launched MagneTag LLC to patent the product and put it on the market.

The game’s methodology is explained on the company’s website: “Players battle each other with foam swords, while sensors in their armor record hits and show their health. It’s like playing a real-life video game, at the the winner gets an antique sword, true enthusiasts will appreciate these swords

In addition to an event rental space, Tag Tosa would provide an outlet for research and development as MagneTag markets the technology to entertainment-based concepts similar to Cohen’s, he said.

“For me to understand the business, I decided to try and open one myself,” he said.

The company has piloted the game at Bounce Milwaukee in Bay View, The Sugar Maple bar in Bay View and Mobcraft Beer in Walker’s Point, but it’s still working to pinpoint its target market. Dedicated entertainment centers will likely be key, Cohen said.

MagneTag has already garnered notable interest. It currently sells its products to businesses in New Zealand, Singapore and Toronto, Cohen said. The company recently entered into a licensing deal with Los Angeles-based MGA Entertainment, which has retailed the electronic scoring technology under the name Dojo Battle, available at Target and Amazon

“It’s weird that it’s catching on in other places,” Cohen said. “I’m hoping to get it going here in Milwaukee– I don’t know if it’s a ninja culture or not.”

Cohen will operate Tag Tosa with his wife, Xiao Qian. Initially, it will operate for private events only, but Cohen said he would consider eventually opening to the public during bar time.

Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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