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Paintball Episode

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They play; it doesn't mean they're good at it.

"I can't shoot my own mother. Not with paint, anyway."

One difficulty for training soldiers is to try recreating the conditions of a battlefield, because you don't want people to go into shock once they hear things whizzing past their head. You also don't want to be using live ammo to get them used to that sensation. So playing paintball is one of the few ways to recreate a battlefield scenario without all the messy carnage involved.

In fiction this scenario is often used for those same purposes, creating a battlefield situation without the genuine worry of a character being killed. There are many different stories this situation can create:

  • A paintball reveal, where Unwinnable Training Simulation is finally shown as merely a training exercise.
  • The characters go expecting to be doing a training exercise but something happens as a Training "Accident", maybe an unknown switch to live ammo.
  • Several comedy scenarios including a recreation of battlefield chaos, a Shell-Shocked Veteran and someone falling down as though they were shot for real. Eventually someone might take it as Serious Business and start laying down traps, taking hostages or doing an Unnecessary Combat Roll.
  • Characters deal with personal issues or live out fantasies by going up against rivals or bullies. Possibly, if the characters are usually Book Dumb, they'll prove that they actually have the brains and acumen to fight in battle.
  • A full-episode parody (or several pastiches, spoof scenes, and references) of different action genres including war, crime, police and political thriller, with movies like The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now and Die Hard popular targets.
  • A situation where the bad guys attack and the characters lack access to their signature gear, forcing them to make do with only their wits and whatever they can scavenge from the field (including the paintball weaponry).
  • Tropes Are Flexible, and a Paintball Episode may be applicable to other types of situations including combat maneuvers, crisis simulations and general war games. Compare Martial Arts and Crafts.

As with many things, those who are familiar with the game will likely be frustrated by the inaccuracies done, sometimes just in the name of Rule of Cool. Among these include:

  • Characters taking their visors off, even assuming they are full face masks or even wearing anything to begin with, which is the number one piece of safety gearnote . For the reasons why, compare In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face and Helmets Are Hardly Heroic.
  • The lack of any visible marshals or playing in public areas not properly partitioned off.
  • Personal conduct rules are ignored, such as minimum distance between firing (no point-blank shots), viciously shooting people ten or more times in sensitive areas for comedic effect, and so on.

Mistakes are more excusable when it's not a regulation game (i.e. a bunch of dudes just throwing everything together for shits and giggles). While not as widely known in fiction much of the same format can be applied to airsoft, which is the use of small plastic BB's as ammo with both gun and ammunition being generally cheaper for an avid player. In even more extreme cases, typically played for laughs entirely, laser tag may also be used for the same purpose.

This is Truth in Television, as military and law enforcement use special "Simunition" rounds for training that are fired from an actual gun, while still being relatively safe to use. A number of paintball guns are designed to look, feel and have the same heft as a regular firearm. In any case, skills and tactics used in paintball (regardless of equipment including the gun and headgear) translate rather well to an actual combat engagement.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chapters 142-149 of Assassination Classroom (Season 2 Episode 17-18 of the anime) has the entire class engage in a paintball civil war to settle the dispute on whether they want to kill or save Koro-sensei.
  • Bubblegum Crisis has a brief sequence showing the Knight Sabers doing this in their off hours, presumably for tactical training. The usual "no masks on" rule applies, though the girls are otherwise wearing clothes that'd pass muster, especially considering they fight killer robots on a nightly basis. A welt or two'd probably not even be noticed. Of course, all inaccuracies were overshadowed by Sylia winning the match with a paint landmine (those are real; just expensive).
  • A DVD extra episode for Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid has Tessa and Melissa engage in a mock Arm-slave battle using paintball ammunition.
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: The second half of Chapter 76 shows a four-way paintball battle in the school between Onizuka and Murai (who use Wallpaper Camouflage), Fujiyoshi and Kusano, Kikuchi and Urumi (who use Night-Vision Goggles and Fast-Roping), and Yoshikawa and Tomoko. Tomoko and Yoshikawa win thanks to paint bombs.
  • Macross:
    • During the evaluation trials in Macross Plus, Guld and Isamu do combat simulations using mech-scaled paintballs. Given their rivalry, it devolves into physical melee, and then the clip of live ammo gets loaded and fired.
    • We also see mech-scaled paintballs used for training in Macross Frontier and Macross Delta.
  • The paintballs switched with live ammo scenario kicks off the plot of the Mobile Suit Gundam/Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam midquel Mobile Suit Gundam École du Ciel.
  • In the Moriarty the Patriot novels, William James Moriarty's crew has a paintball fight as combat training.
  • School Rumble had its class 2-C engage in a massive multi-way paintball battle to determine what their activity would be for the School Festival. Played for the maximum in epic.
  • In Sound of the Sky's first DVD extra episode, the crew has a mock battle with water guns. Being Unsuspectingly Soused at the time, Hilarity Ensues.
  • One episode of You're Under Arrest! featured a paintball match between Yoriko and some of the other Bokuto officers on one team and Chie Sagami-Ono leading the other team. Sagami-Ono won the match, but Yoriko arrested some robbers who were hiding nearby and mistook the paintballs for real bullets. Another episode featured the Bokuto officers on their day off visiting an amusement park with a paintball arena and competing against the amusement park employees, who wear monster costumes (thereby triggering Miyuki's phobia). (This latter storyline was adapted from a manga chapter; in the manga version, it was a laser tag arena instead.)

    Asian Animation 
  • Episode 24 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons is about Sparky training the other goats for a paintball war between them and Wolffy's team, consisting of Master Paopao and Brother Tai.

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of Champions (2016), the team bonds/practices their battle strategies over a round of paintball. Vision even drives the team to a paintball arena in a van.
  • IDW's G.I. Joe series has the training exercise variation. A group of Joes armed only with paintball weapons have to attempt to infiltrate the Pit. A pair of Cobra commandos kill most of the team (who mistake them for their opponents), leaving three essentially unarmed Joes (Cover Girl, Downtown and Tripwire) to take on the Cobra soldiers.
  • The Knights of the Dinner Table special "Last Man Standing" was completely devoted to a game using paintball guns. Hardly anyone wore face protection of any kind - and every character who wore glasses got hit at least once in them. (Even many of those who did not were glasses were hit in the face, but those were "off screen".) Not to mention "firefights" with participants being hit sometimes dozens of times (how do they even know who won?), called shots to the groin, and even one character fighting while carrying an unprotected baby! But then again, characters in KODT tend to go overboard in whatever tey're doing.
  • One of the stories in a Punisher Summer Special had Frank tracking down a gang of killers who disguised themselves as paintball players while equipping their weapons with live rounds.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Basalt City Chronicles, a brother of one of the main characters is in the PaNoTer armed forces. He tells his family over a dinner about a time when he and his squad wish to have a practice battle on a paintball field. Several smilodonian youths are there for the same purpose, and the two sides decide to go against each other. The soldiers see no reason to go easy on the youths (all of whom have received some military instruction). Needless to say, the youths lose SPECTACULARLY.
  • A scene in preparation for the Discworld and The Big Bang Theory crossover The Many Worlds Interpretation by A.A. Pessimal has the Caltech gang inviting their Discworld counterparts for a pleasant afternoon of paintballing. They have failed to take into account that Johanna Smith-Rhodes is a trained Assassin. And, in her cover identity as a visiting teaching academic at Caltech, is obliged to turn out for a different team. Zoologynote  therefore treat Physics to a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • When training for combat, witch-pilots of the Air Watch use "cold fire" - simulated fireballs which have none of the destructive fiery qualities, effectively blank rounds - to "tag" each other as simulated kills when rehearsing air-combat and engaging in mock dogfights.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe fic “Tingle”, Peter Parker and Kate Bishop’s first solo date consists of them going paintballing together.

    Film — Animation 
  • If it counts, The Swan Princess has a paintball segment; Derek and Bromley practice archery by tipping their arrows with bags of paint.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Die Hard, when Hans Gruber is caught by John McClane, he tries to bluff his way out, acting like one of the hostages. When McClane says to stick with him to live, he asks Gruber if he's ever fired a gun. Gruber lies that he spent a weekend at a "Combat Ranch" whose guns shoot bullets of red paint.
  • In Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, Jason Voorhees stumbles upon a group office workers playing paintball. They weren't in the film very long.
  • During the gun battle exercise in the film version of Get Smart, the agents involved used military simunition instead of real bullets. While they wore protective body armor and goggles, none of them wore facemasks or helmets. Partially justified with the fact that since these were CONTROL field agents, they would have excellent marksmanship.
  • Taken to ludicrous extremes in Aces: Iron Eagle III. While performing in airshows, the heroes use paint rounds for mock dogfights. Nearly results in a Training "Accident" when one pilot's guns are secretly loaded with live rounds.
  • Jarhead uses it almost realistically during its characters' training time. One grunt asks the stupid question-"Them paintball bullets...they hurt?" Cut to the answer.
  • In the training exercise at the beginning of The Living Daylights, the guards shot the infiltrating spies with paintballs (at least that was the intention) despite their lack of face protection.
  • Man of the Year has Robin Williams taking his staff paintballing for a team building exercise.
  • The campers seemed properly equipped in Return to Sleepaway Camp, except for Alan. Since everyone (including most of the counselors and other employees) hate him, all the players surrounded him and shoot him a bajillion times.
  • The lovely but little-known film Prom Wars ends the titular wars with a paintball fight.
  • The paintball match in Severance (2006) ended prematurely due to a character getting caught in a Bear Trap.
  • The Film of the Series S.W.A.T. (2003) has them doing a training scenario using realistic paintball firing guns.

  • In Good Omens, a group of corporate executives take part in a "team-building" paintball battle. Crowley the demon changes the weapons to real guns. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The opening chapter of The Science of Discworld II has Ridcully attempt a team building exercise by taking the wizards into the woods with their staffs set to paint spells. Unfortunately, wizards don't do team building:
    Senior Wrangler: I'm on your side!
    Dean: But you made such a good target!
  • Bigmac in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy is banned from paintball. He reckons they're just jealous because no-one came up with the idea of a paintball grenade before.
    Wobbler: It was a tin of paint. You might have loosened the lid, at least.
  • A sci-fi version appears in the X-Wing Series, with low power lasers and dummy missiles sometimes used for starfighter training alongside more conventional flight simulators. Becomes a plot point on multiple occasions:
    • In Rogue Squadron, Tycho Celchu flies a Z-95 Headhunter equipped with such weapons on gunnery training missions that are otherwise live fire, a result of his status as a falsely suspected Manchurian Agent.
    • Starfighters of Adumar sees Wedge and company introduce the concept to the Adumari, a planet obsessed with starfighter combat... and with gaining "honor" via deadly bouts of aerial combat. Most Adumari are unreceptive to the idea, but those who do take up Wedge's challenge to mock combat quickly learn its value - with no one turned into a smoking crater at the end of the fight, everyone is able to learn from their mistakes and apply them to future battles.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ace of Cakes started an episode like this when the team was asked to make a cake for Splatter Mountain paintball and was invited to play. The first few minutes of the show are about the team sneaking up and assassinating each other before they get to cake-making.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • One episode has the cast (minus Penny) walking into their complex, in full paintball uniforms, absolutely covered in blue spots, except for Sheldon, who has a noticeable orange blotch on his back protector (He kept yelling, "Get the kid in the yarmulke!" in a firefight against a Bar mitzvah party). This set up is quickly dumped by the wayside when they run into Penny on the way up, and she invites them to her Halloween party. As they were just walking up the stairs their masks pulled up they were the proper type, later episodes showing them at the course with slightly smaller visors that didn't cover the lower part of the face.
    • Another episode begins and ends with them hiding in a building on the course, apparently there are regular paintball games pitting different university teams against each other. This time it includes an Unnecessary Combat Roll, some discussion on their mortality and removing their masks during the game (they were in cover, but the rules still apply). Later in the episode Sheldon vindictively shot Penny in revenge for earlier parts of the episode, and Leonard shot him in return, all of which was done with helmets raised.
    • The fifth season premiere had the group at the paintball range again, although personal issues flared up to where they were ready to call it quits. Sheldon decided he was a poor captain and thus committed himself to death by walking out unarmed and insulting the geology department, being promptly shot over a dozen times and ending with an epic Crucified Hero Shot. To their surprise, his sacrifice inspired his team to retake the battle and win the game for the first time. They make the mistake of taking their masks off on the field several times. Notably, they point out the absurdity of the sci-fi style body armor but it isn't entirely unrealistic as players do appreciate some extra padding.
    • The last season also has one last paintball episode, "The Paintball Scattering." In this one it's Leonard, Sheldon, & Howard fighting alongside their respective wives Penny, Amy, and Bernadette. Raj accompanies his newly arranged fiancée Anu. And Stuart gets to participate along with his own lady friend & co-worker Denise. The plotlines are mostly just personal issues amongst the pairs interfering with the game. Leonard did actually try to spare Penny from a point-blank shot, acknowledging it's painful and the rule exists.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    • The show first gets one with the episode "Tactical Village". Fairly realistic in that it's a training scenario for a group of cops (they're using training rounds in what looks like real guns) but nobody seems to be wearing more protection than goggles. And they get shot in the chest at a couple of feet!
    • Appears again in "Windbreaker City", in which the cops are invited to a terrorism training exercise for federal agencies only to be looked down on by everyone else present and discover that they're assigned to be the hostages. They eventually end up rebelling and freeing themselves, only to then decide to take revenge on the condescending feds by taking over the role of the terrorists.
  • Byker Grove showed the dangers of this when PJ lost his sight after he removed his mask mid-game and got hit in the face by a paintball.
  • Community
    • The first paintball episode has the whole campus engage in a paintball war and the last one standing gets first choice of classes the next semester. The episode includes homages to tons of action movies.
    • Season two has a two-parter, half based on westerns, half on Star Wars. The participants wear no protective gear at all (except for whatever they could scavenge).
    • Season 6 has another, which occurs when paintball goes underground. It is a homage to the action espionage genre a la Mission: Impossible. There is no safety equipment used at all, and includes one person who isn't even playing getting shot in the head near his eye at close range.
  • Coronation Street. Tony's stag party pulled most of the common mistakes with masks being lifted up willy-nilly and no sign of marshalls. They did have full-face masks though.
  • CSI has an episode where a trio of the main cast visits a paintball course to bring in a suspect. The main members enter the field in the middle of an active game without any protective gear, and the suspect removes his mask while still on the field even though viewers can clearly see people still shooting each other in the background.
  • One episode of CSI: NY had two paintballers staging a match in alley. One is murdered when he stumbles on to a drug deal, while the other is abducted by a mentally unstable woman who thinks he is an alien. The paintballers were, at least, wearing full protective gear. The gear, combined with the luminous green paint she thought was blood, was why the woman mistook him for an alien.
  • Episode of Danger Bay, in which two characters break the pre-established rules about, respectively, taking one's face mask off during the exercise and aiming for the face, with the result that the guy who took his mask off takes a paintball between the eyes and is effectively blinded for most of the rest of the episode.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey featured one episode where Dave and Helen got together during the game and ended up having sex, convincing Helen that she was, after all a lesbian. The cast mostly behaved according to their characters - Sally had her photo taken and went back to the hotel, Damian wore a Rambo style ammunition belt and bandanna - but from what happened off-screen, George apparently had a Heroic BSoD moment - ending up pistol-whipping Gus and giving Henry a black eye, which meant he lost badly-needed money from not being in a fit state to make a TV series independently of Globelink.
  • The pilot of Glee had the other football players shooting Finn with paintball guns at point-blank range. Not on a paintball range. With nobody wearing any gear. And somehow it was all okay because they weren't aiming at his head. So much wrong with this scenario...
  • Greg the Bunny featured a paintball team building trip. When Gil neglects to invite the women, they get irate and vow to crush him.
  • A Season 3 episode of Hell's Kitchen had Chef Ramsay reward the winning team with a trip to the paintball range, where Gordon took on all three by himself - and he still won. Because this is also a Real Life example, all the proper rules were obeyed.
  • While House did not have an official paintball episode, the one-hour retrospective which aired before the series finale ended with Robert Sean Leonard and Hugh Laurie having a paintball match in the defunct set of the Princeton Plainsboro hospital.
  • How I Met Your Mother has Barney's utter devotion to laser tag from the very first episode, and is sometimes revisited throughout the series and playing up the "mock battlefield" scenario. In one episode he gets too aggressive against the kids that were playing and the manager had Barney turn in his membership card in a style very similar to a Cowboy Cop being asked to resign.
  • iCarly: In "iSaved Your Life", the trio and Spencer play a game called Assassin using only blow tube guns. Carly and Freddie were "eliminated" early on, leaving behind extreme mind games between Sam and Spencer. No safety equipment is used at all, although the relatively low speed nature of blow-guns reduces the risk of injury and it was meant to be played in a home.
  • There was an episode of Jake20 with a paintball match. Jake's enjoyment is ruined by someone trying to kill him who turned out to be a hallucination.
  • Just Shoot Me! has an episode with paintballing.
  • The King of Queens had a paintball episode where all the characters had goggles but wore them like headbands, instead of over their eyes where, you know, they could actually do some good.
  • An episode of L.A. Law had some of the attorneys going on a weekend paintball excursion as the team of a client. Stuart Markowitz becomes very good and very ruthless at it. Even more remarkable since Markowitz was coming off a heart attack.
  • Las Vegas has the owner, Casey, taking the gang over to do paintball. Most of them were not wearing the proper gear.
  • Little Mosque on the Prairie: Amaar's bachelor party involves a paintball game. Unfortunately, Amaar doesn't think the teams through ("everyone on this side of me on my team") and ends up unintentionally making the game Muslims versus (white) non-Muslims - which, besides the lampshaded Unfortunate Implications, means that he's saddled with a whole team who've never handled a gun in their lives, half of whom immediately shoot their own teammates by mistake.
  • MacGyver has Mac and Pete in a Phoenix versus other agencies Paintball match as one of the cold openings. Mac's "no guns" rule applies even to Paintball. And yet, Phoenix was winning, because of Mac.
  • Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's friend Dabney was being shot repeatedly by a bunch of bullies at point blank range while he was on the floor. When he snapped, he not only returned the favor to one of them, he also was shoving paintballs up the guy's nose.
  • MythBusters will normally break out the full face masks when paintball guns are in use, but during one segment of the "Ultimate MythBuster" episode Adam and Jamie were firing at each other with no body armor other than groin cups and face masks. Of course, the point of that challenge was to see who had the greatest pain tolerance... (Huge surprise, Jamie won.)
    • A later episode testing whether a "Slap in the Face" can get you out of a hysterical fit and back to dealing with a stressful situation had them testing cognitive awareness using simunition rounds at a gun range. They used paintball ammo largely because they had to simulate mental fatigue and give that person a gun.
    • They tested whether first person shooter games were accurate either when picking up one weapon and discarding another or keeping all the weapons in a live action version of the games with paintball guns.
  • Peep Show: The second half of "The Love Bunker" takes place during a paintball match.
  • The Piglet Files, a 1990's British sitcom, has the MI 5 protagonists doing a paintball training exercise, including a parody of the Taking the Bullet cliché. The doofus of the group is praised for having no paintball marks on him, only to reveal as he walks away that he's been shot In the Back numerous times. No-one wears protective equipment as we're initially supposed to believe they're actually in combat.
  • Primeval Season 2 Full face masks, but they're removed by the minor characters and one guy, mask semi-removed, shoots the girls multiple times. He then takes his mask off again in an empty clearing. He is soon killed by a saber-tooth tiger.
  • SEAL Team occasionally features Bravo training using simunition rounds (made clear by the use of blue magazines and blue suppressors). In one episode, Bravo and Green Team have to engage in multiple rounds of a simulated assault, resulting in everyone involved getting covered in paint marks.
  • Six Feet Under has an episode where paintballing errors show up most egregiously. David and Keith go paintballing with a couple other gay guys. They don't wear protective clothing, they take their googles off and even close-range hits don't elicit any reaction from the characters. It mostly follows the Rule of Funny and aims to illustrate the difference between Keith's Hard Gay friends and David's Camp Gay friends.
  • One episode of Sledge Hammer! had the titular detective investigate a murder on a paintball field. Near the end, he takes on the suspects in a paintball match.
  • South of Nowhere has an episode where the Carlins and others go paintballing. Especially egregious in that Madison shows up in a Cheerleading outfit, just so she can act like a psycho bitch when the cheer squad removes her from the lineup.
  • In the Space: Above and Beyond episode "Ray Butts", the titular Lt. Col. Butts puts the squadron through a training exercise with paintball pistols. In the best traditions of this trope, no one is seen wearing any eye protection or other padding.
  • Spaced used goggles instead of full face masks, and a total absence of marshals. This allows some acknowledged dangerous shots to occur, mostly Tim firing at Dwayne's crotch. Several times (admittedly causing a severe injury)
    Tim: No hard feelings eh?
    Duane: You shot me in the bollocks, Tim.
    Tim: Yeah, well like I said... no hard feelings...
    • Mike's overzealous attitude towards paintball (he's a member of the Territorial Army and general military enthusiast) is stated to have gotten him a ban which lasted several years. From the various hints dropped in the episode, he clobbered an accountant with a big stick and gave the guy some serious psychological trauma, but this is of course Played for Comedy.
    • Also features the obligatory War Movie Parody scene - Mike gets shot, Tim runs over to give a How Dare You Die on Me! speech, and Mike coughs up yellow paintnote  and goes limp. Cue Big NOOOOOO!... Then cut to Tim and Mike walking out of the game:
      Tim: I feel cleansed. It's been a really good day.
      Mike: That, my friend, is the beauty of simulated violence.
  • The Military Channel series Special Ops Missions features former United States Army Ranger and Air Force Pararescueman Wil Willis going up against groups of opposing-force operatives, which consist of regular and special operations veterans, in simulated wargame missions. They use simunition paintball rounds in their M-4 carbines and M-16 rifles, which the show frequently mentions as non-lethal but still quite painful to be hit by.
  • Stargate SG-1 has the intar: a device developed by the Goa'uld for use in training Jaffa, that stuns people shot with it, instead of killing them. It is first seen being used by a group of Jaffa being trained to fight using human weapons, and tactics, and is later adopted by the SGC for use in training exercises for its recruits.
  • St. Elsewhere: Drs. Chandler, Erlich, and Morrison take part in a tournament against a group of accountants. It's mild-mannered Jack Morrison, working through some serious PTSD, who winds up going mercenary against the rival team.
  • On The Suite Life on Deck, they had an episode where Cody and Bailey were taught to have fun by Mrs. Tutweiler ( they had come into to class on senior skip day and Mrs. T had had it with their interrupting her reading of a romance novel). Of course, this being the 3rd season, Cody and Bailey took it as an opportunity to hurt each, then their teacher, and finally after the game, they analyzed the science behind it.
  • One episode of Top Shot allowed members of the two teams to finally shoot at members of the opposing team with paintball markers While the target marksmen were running from one protected firing point to the next.
  • Ugly Betty: "Bananas for Betty" has Alexis and Daniel try to settle their rivalry (and decide control of a multimillion-dollar company) with a paintball contest.
  • Near the end of season 4 of The Wire, one episode starts with Michael running away from Chris and Snoop; all three of them armed. He hides, ambushes them, and then we realize that they're actually all using paintball guns.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Dilbert strip, the Pointy-Haired Boss signed the team up for a paintball course as a "team building exercise", but instead of them going out to a paintballing field, he interpreted it as hunting them in the office with a paintball gun, without them being aware of it.

    Video Games 
  • Brawl Stars did this with their Deep Sea Brawl season, overlapping with Under the Sea, including a street artist brawler, skins of Colt, Fang and Belle with sea vibes, paintball amo and half their faces covered and a whole new aquatic enviornment.
  • LittleBigPlanet has the Metal Gear Solid DLC level pack, which comes with the Paintinator, a paintball gun for shooting down ID-tagged weaponry and Metal Gear REX.
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party 8: The minigame Paint Misbehavin' has two pairs of characters (or, alternatively, only two individual characters) operate train-like paint cannons across rails to shoot paintballs at Goombas. One pair or solo character shoots pink paintballs while the other shoots blue ones. If a Goomba is painted with either color, it's still possible to change its color by shooting painting from the other. If a pair or character gets hit by a rival paintball, they'll be stunned for a short while. After 30 seconds, whichever pair or character has more Goombas painted with their color wins; but if the number of painted Goombas is the same for both colors, the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Mario Party 9: The minigame Flinger Painting places the players in front of a giant blank canvas, and arms them with paintball guns. The goal is to cover more of the canvas with your color than any other player by firing paintballs at it. The paintball guns can be charged by holding the fire button down for a second before releasing, resulting in a larger shot. Players can cover paint left by their opponents, adding extra strategy. The player with the most paint coverage when the time limit expires wins the minigame.
    • Mario Party 10: Paintball Battle is a minigame where players run around a small maze carrying paintball guns, and the objective is to defeat all of their rivals by shooting them. Each player's paintballs match their player color, and when they hit an opponent, that player will get covered in paint of that color.
    • Mario Party: Star Rush: Splat a Stamp sees each player using a slingshot to fire paintballs onto a giant stamp of an enemy character such as a Shy Guy or Bullet Bill, with the goal of covering as much of the stamp with their color as possible. The game is similar to Flinger Painting from Mario Party 9, but instead of covering a blank canvas, in this game, only paint that lands on the parts of the stamp that make up the character shape will count toward the players' scores.

  • In the webcomic Life of Riley the BOBs are able to gain an early lead over the forces of darkness in their "Paintbrawl" specifically because the bad guys don't understand the rules.
  • Pv P did a paintball arc in early 2008 that was very careful about getting the details right, with proper masks and realistic paintball guns and terminology and rules. The one exception was Francis using a HALO helmet instead of a regular paintball mask, though in this case the marshals at least discussed it. Up to the point where Brent got a dislocated nipple (maybe Scott Kurtz was afraid the strips weren't zany enough). Then the cast snuck onto the course at night with no marshal and did all the things they weren't supposed to do, but at least then it was justified (and they even pointed it out later). That sequence features a cameo from "Doc", who runs a paintball shop in Alaska and draws The Whiteboard, a paintball-themed Web Comic, as well as a human version of the owner of the paintball field from that comic, "Red". This may have contributed to the accuracy.
  • Schlock Mercenary has a few incidents where the mercs, equipped with "goober rounds", i.e. big wads of glue that can stick people to the floor, decide to have an impromptu practice session amongst themselves. Schlock's teams tend to win these. Also, Captain Kaff Tagon and his dad the General go up against a number of the crew in an offscreen laser-tag match and beat them all handily (they cheated).
  • Sluggy Freelance's "Sistine Shrapnel" arc, complete with Torg being a wuss about getting hit and Riff illegally modifying his marker.
  • The Whiteboard: The author makes markers for the game and can get a little annoyed by people disregarding the rules.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Fridge" is set off by Nicole winning a company paintball game off-screen (every other contestant was hospitalized) and ends with the Watterson family having a free-for-all game of capture the flag. There is no supervision, people get shot at very close range or after already losing, players either take off their mask (Anais) or wearing only goggles (everyone else), and some extra equipment includes paint grenades and paint balloons dropped by trip-wire.
    Humorously, besides the forest course shown the poster for the place claims it has one course in a junkyard and another in outer space. And are available for all kinds of parties, including stag parties (bachelor parties) and hen parties (bachelorette parties).
  • The American Dad! paintball episode must've been the first of its kind to use a brush in a parody of movies about The Vietnam War. Complete with American GI and Viet Cong outfits, paintball guns that resemble AK-47's and M-16's, Sharpie pens used like knives, Steve even using a paint sprayer like a flamethrower, and golf carts used for many different things like Huey helicopters, River Patrol Boats, and POW Cages.
  • The Daria episode "The Daria Hunter," in which the cast plays paintball. Quinn shoots Sandi because she doesn't recognize her with her goggles on; Sandi angrily points out that it's against the rules not to wear them, whereupon the Fashion Club says "Some rules are meant to be broken. Like wearing red lipstick with an orange sweater."
  • A Dilbert episode had Alice use this as an ice breaker party game. INSIDE Dilbert's house! It gets worse from there.
  • The episode of The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants “The Cunning Combat of the Covert Camoflush” centers around the kids playing a game of paintball with Mr. Ree's younger brother, Major Messy, only to end up having to follow more rules than you can shake a stick at. George and Harold make him a comic to remind him that paintball's really about fun, resulting in him letting the kids go on a rule-free paintball game, and him ultimately turning into the Monster of the Week.
  • Family Guy: "Petarded". Spooner street game night includes a "paintball" fight in the Griffin house with goggles and body armor but no masks. Only Brian forgot the paintball guns so they use Joe's box-o-guns from work. Refuge in Audacity indeed.
  • Futurama plays their paintball online, literally.
  • The Jimmy Two-Shoes episode Dance Jimmy Dance has the three main characters playing "Savage Bunny Paintball", which has them firing paintball guns at rabbits.
  • King of the Hill had a particularly egregious episode where a teenage bully torments Bobby on the paintball field and Hank and his buddies end up sucked into a paintball match with him. Not only does no one ever wear face masks in this episode, but the bully frequently engages in activities that would get you immediately thrown off the range (such as lining up a losing team against a fence for a "firing squad" shot) and of course, nary a marshal or range master is seen. Hank and his friends then turn the tables, shooting at point blank range themselves, bringing outside unsanctioned equipment and changing clothes on the field.
  • Total Drama had a paintball episode where the teens had to hunt each other with paintball guns. Other than the camera crew and the host, there are no marshals to keep an eye on the contestants. The contestants wear goggles but no facemasks, and otherwise wear no protective clothing at all, just their normal street clothes. It doesn't help that some of the girls are pretty much half-naked. Finally, during the event briefing, the host literally shoots a contestant point blank for comedic effect. Of course, Total Drama Island is very big on Amusing Injuries, and the hosts make no effort to hide the fact they are complete jerkasses.

    Real Life 
  • Many military forces and law enforcement agencies use Simunition, effectively live ammo which fires paint balls instead of lead bullets; they are significantly smaller, harder, and faster than regular paint balls. They're basically a blue wax dye tip, with a plastic buffer and a small metal sabot on the base. This way soldiers and cops can get the feel of dealing with live ammo, complete with projectiles whizzing around. Since they're mostly used at ranges deep within a normal "safety kill" range in paintball, they can, will, and do break skin. On the flipside, users tend to be wearing Kevlar armor at the time and may hardly feel getting shot in the armor.
    • It is also extremely inaccurate compared to bullets just as regular paint balls are due to the fact that the paint projectile is too small to take advantage of the rifling effect.
  • There was an odd movement in Detroit that amounted to this as an alternative to gangs using real guns. It was called Paintballs Up Guns Down.