Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Things you probably never knew about Nerf

So, it started all the way back in 1969 did it NerfNation? I vividly remember the TV ads back in the mid 80s  (I would have been 6) and dreaming of having Nerf blasters and of course, like any kid with sisters - a Super Soaker to annoy them - Who else is with me on this??

This toy has graced the toy store shelves for over four decades, and still going strong today. Only last year in 2012 did we start to see the N-Strike (Light It Up), Vortex, Firevision Sports and Elite ranges expand and grow quickly. The lines were definitely an instant hit with fans old and new.

But what did it start with?

It is this soft, safe foam of Nerf which proved to have an instant hit with indoor play. Only recently I was speaking to my Mum about my blog and she said "Oh that's what we bought you boys when you were young! It stopped all the China from being smashed to bits, because you ignored the whole "no ball games in the house" rule."

Dad jumped in with "Oh the squidgy stuff, love it, saved our marriage. Stopped her from nagging, and you lot costing me a fortune!"

Uhm. thanks Dad? :)

But who came up with the whole idea of this much loved squishy stuff in the first place? What's the best Nerf blaster around? And just where does that strange name come from? Read on, and find out.

What does Nerf mean, anyway?

The catchy, instantly noticeable Hasbro trademark "NERF," this is actually an acronym. And tempting though it is to think up creative guesses for what the letters actually stand for, the truth is a little less exciting. It actually stands for "Non-Expanding Recreational Foam," after the soft, air-bubble-filled plastic foam that gives Nerf its squidgy-cushy feel. I spoke to Hasbro UK to confirm what it exactly is, they told me that the engineers say its technical name is "Non-Expanding Recreational Foam" however the inventor prefers to keep it simple as NERF. He just prefers to call things what they are - like a Lambogini is just simply another car to him.

I still like my childhood "Nerf Every Relative Family/Friend". I think still think is awesome. Maybe thats what they should change it to! What did you think NERF stood for?

It shares an inventor with Twister.

The inventor Mr Reynolds Guyer created Twister in 1965 while working on an ad campaign for children's shoes. It was an immediate hit. Flying high on the shoulders of success, he then came up with a caveman-themed game.

(I can hear your eyes blinking as you read that. I could hear mine).

The game strangely involved hiding money under rubber rocks, and throwing those rocks at other players. To me its obvious what I would prefer to do, and players found the same - that chucking rocks was far more fun than hiding money, and Nerf as we know it was born.

The other side is in 2002 a Brian Jablonski, a Product Design Manager was asked at a high level management meeting to create a line of toy suitable for boys aged 8-16.

Brian set out designing the Nerf blasters, each blaster having a team of 15 engineers!  The rest we know as history :) 

Brian remains in the toy world to what Steve Jobs was to technology.

That's what I was able to research, anyhow.

The details are a little sketchy, but this much is certain: the Nerf line started with a four-inch ball marketed on its safety for indoor play, and was a massive success; a whopping four million were sold in its first year of retail. Over the last 40 years, the range expanded to include sports toys, water blasters, video games, USB keyrings, desk toys, spy glasses, clocks, scooters, and toy swords, but these days it's all about the multi award-winning Nerf toy blasters.

What's the best Nerf blaster?

Some hobbies are expensive. From skydiving, to Aviation to Ballroom dancing.

For Nerf fans, this is one hobby where getting the best isn't all that expensive; even the most fanciest of Nerf shooters stays well under $100.

Every gamer has his/her own choice and style of play. From big heavy blaster support, to sniping to close combat battle. And even then this is not limited to blasters, you have a wide choice of foam melee weapons.

But according to Hasbro, the most impressive Nerf shooter to date has been the N-Strike Elite Stryfe. This battery-powered, sleek profile, 35-dart capacity blaster, capable of with both single-shot and full semi-auto fire modes, is every bit as potent as its butch, action-movie looking cousin the Vulcan. Just make sure you have plenty of ammo, because it'll blow through all 6-35 shots in just over 5-15 seconds. If you're standing at the end of this versatile blaster, you'll know.

Today's Nerf blaster is tomorrow's TV prop.

Nerf blasters are seriously cool and can be customised to look even better!. Some people think they are so cool, in fact, that they've shown up as props in at least one big-budget TV show.

Any modern day sci-fi fan will have seen their jaw drop when they popped up alongside the dinosaurs and time-traveling shenanigans in last year's Terra Nova. Both custom and Stock Nerf weapons were used as futuristic firearms in various episodes of the show, although the production team at least went to the trouble to paint the Nerf Blazing Blue and Orange with shoot-fast white stripe (is that a myth or really true?) toys black. Maybe they didn't want to startle the dinos onset ;)


It's part of gamer slang.

In the ever growing and confusing lingo of MMO (massively-multiplayer online) games like World of Warcraft or Kineage II, Guild Wars, even A(ction)RPG Diablo III, "nerf" has taken on a new meaning. Used as a term to refer to a deliberate change in popular gameplay that weakens a powerful weapon, character type, or ability. In other words, it's been "nerfed" - it's become as harmless as a Nerf weapon.

It's open to respective communities of that game to discuss opinions on whether or not a particular nerf was good or bad (depending largely on whether or not you were one of the people benefiting from the imbalance in the first place).

So how much did of this did you already know? Let me know!

I will leave you with one last thought - have you ever thought of this??

1 comment:

  1. All I'm thinking is that he's using a hyper sight BBB