Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Year Under the Barrel, Nerf 2009-2010

Down to it, 2009 was a good year for Nerf blasters and a growing Nerf enthusiast community. I've had a Nerf blaster as far back as I could remember, probably my ballzooka or blastfire being the first blasters in the armory. In 2005, I joined a site called Nerfhaven which focused on discussion and resources to modify and improve the performance of Nerf blasters as well as organize wars. Since then the internet made the world smaller and there has just been a much larger open channel of communication.

First off, let's look at the blasters. While off-brand competitors have had their own share of new releases, Hasbro and Nerf haven't exactly been sitting on their laurels. The N-Strike line has been jamming along, with the Raider CS-35 being released September 09, 2009. It joined the ranks of the Longshot, Secret Strike Pocket Blaster, Buzzsaw, Nitefinder Ex-3, Maverick, Firefly, Recon, Eliminators (REFLEX IX-1), Element/Disk Shot and Switch Shot already released. The N-Strike line prides itself on the tactical rail system that allows attachments on its blasters. So far there's been a tactical light kit, a red-dot sight, scope set, and most recently a bandolier for all lines that holds blasters, ammo, and even melee weapons.

Yes, melee weapons! The N-Force line started this year with the release of the Thunder Fury and Shadow Fury swords, followed by the Marauder longsword and Warlock battle axe . It's safe to assume that the N-Force brand is Nerf's hand-to-hand weapon line which is a long way from the 90's-era Nerf fencing sets.

Then there's the Dart Tag line. It is the more sport-focused line of Nerf, using velcro-headed darts in order to assist in seeing hits. Where N-Strike's streamlines and sonic darts just hit and bounce, the Dart Tag line uses velcro vests to open up different game types based on points and adding one more level to knowing when a player is hit. The Furyfire isn't the only blaster in the Dart Tag line. There's the Hyperfire (a repainted Dart Tag Blaster), the Strikefire (originally released as the Crossfire), and the Stormfire. There's also the targeting set, which is an off-shoot of the Nerf Tech Target system, only this time packaged with an Eliminator.

Naturally, all these different brands means different ammo. In addition to normal micro suction darts, there are micro sonic, whistler, tagger, and streamline darts available, along with ammo boxes to hold everything.

Need a peek? Make sure to check out http://hasbro.com/nerf for a look at their online store to see what's up!

In the meantime:








In my opinion probably the largest-scale development was the birth of the Nerf Dart Tag League (NDTL). In June 2009 the Nerf Dart Tag League was an event that coincided with ever stop on the 2009 Mt. Dew Action Sport Tour as part of their Festival Village. Here, people were allowed a look at a new release for Fall 2009: the Nerf Fury Fire blaster and Capture the Flag systems. There was also a larger competition, where teams of four participated in rounds of capture the flag (using the new electronic flag sets) in two different age groups (8-12, 13-17) to become regional champs, travel to Orlando, Florida, and compete against the other regional champs to become the first-ever NDTL National Champions for $25,000 at the final Mt. Dew Action Sport Tour stop. Being outside of both age groups it was a shame I couldn't throw my own hat into the ring for $25,000. However, I was able to participate in a non-tournament scrimmage or two, and that was a lot of fun to get out there with normal, stock blasters. It was different to the usual Nerf cup of coffee I have with modified blasters and it was great. No technological advantages, just you, the dart, the same blaster as everyone else, and whatever skills you brought to the table.
Since then, Nerf's on twitter, facebook, and even youtube:

http://twitter.com/nerfnation
http://www.facebook.com/NerfNation
http://www.youtube.com/user/nerf


So much to pump and blast, so little time. While the blaster modification internet community continues to grow East, West, Midwest, and beyond the stock blasters from Nerf and the other brands are where we all start and where the fun begins.

Ready, Aim, FOAM!

-VasTheStampede

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