The first actual game of paint-ball took place in 1981, between 12 players using the Nelspot 007. The first game was a capture the flag scenario game. The sport of paint-ball really spread in the 80s . It reached the shores of England from where is was taken to Australia and South Africa. Some years later it reached the European continent. The NPPL was founded in the year 1992, and in the following year 4 tournaments were played around the country. The World Championships Of Paint-ball was produced and aired by ESPN in the year 1996.
The first company that made a marker was Nelson Paint Company, the marker was called the Nelspot 007 and was originally used to mark trees in the forestry business. The Nelspot 007 was a bolt action or pump action pistol powered by 12 gram Co2 cartridges.
The Splatmaster was affordably priced at around 80$. It was different from the 007 in that the body was made out of solid plastic (The 007 was all steel). It had a capacity of 10 round tubes of 0.68 cal. ammunition.
The Tippmann 68 Special hit the market around 1990 and it was hugely popular. The 68 special became known for its quality and reliability. A hybrid weapon it combined the ruggedness of the SL-68, with the speed of the SMG-60, the only full automatic CO2 paint-ball gun. The gun boated a new gravity feed system that put an end to problems of ball breakage and double feeding.
Compare this to the present-day scenario with the availability of electric markers, that shoot 20 balls per second. In USA itself, the number of paint-ball players is estimated to be 10 million and the sport's popularity can only increase.