Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A break in the products, get some POV

So once upon a time in the midwest there was a situation. Not like the Jersey Shore. This one involved the Midwest Nerf Community in the spirit that blasters are becoming more and more powerful. People one-upping each other in the pursuit of blasters that shoot faster, farther, and with a high rate of fire. In some respects, it's been called an "arms race". Feeling the need to get and create more powerful blasters so people will feel competitive.

There's the perspective that banning guns and crying foul limits the creative aspect of modding blasters. Fair point. There's also the thinking that's all about going balls-out with skill to get every inch out of our foam kids' toys in order to stoke the fire of competition. So you've got creative expression and the spirit of ingenuity here, some fine forces to consider when it comes to taking a toy and making something darn impressive out of it. However, there's a problem in the perspective here. Exactly what is the goal?

Some go out to nerf to have a loose time being silly with kids' dart blasters and doing epic dodges like "The Matrix". Everyone can be Neo against a stock Nerf blaster. And I've played on both sides of the street, between heavily modded blasters hitting over 100' and going up against stock blasters where a blowgun is the highest ranging blaster out there. Either way, I'm out there and playing my way and my style, usually with a shorter range blaster or in some cases a melee weapon for each hand. Why? Because it's fun for me! Posting up by a tree or a teammate all day and plinking away at people is not my idea of an ideal day. I don't go out with the express purpose to lose, but I am not out there where my only goal is winning at any cost and looking for any small measure of an advantage. I go for style points, if anything!

So what does all this mean? Well, there's a lot of things. When it comes to Foam From Above, don't look for modification writeups. Any mods I do to my blasters are minimal at best, and in some cases if I hit even 50-70 feet with a blaster that's good enough for me. I like to rely on dodging and one day my awesome weapon blocking to save me in a confrontation, more than trying to be on the offensive with a high range blaster. I'll cover news, product reviews, post a modded blaster now and again, or even do a firing test with a stock blaster. But if you want schematics and measurements on how to make your e-wang bigger, there's plenty of other sources on the internet for that.

Alright, back to what Nerf and high powered everything means. I'm a big proponent of, "Your war, your rules" and whatever anyone says I'll abide by if I go to the war.

And there's the key phrase, "If I go."

Say it with me now, "If I go."

We, as attendees and Nerfers can always opt out! That'll kill our social life in some respects but when you get to a certain age where your time and weekends are precious you really have to figure out how you want to spend it. And having a shitty time after you drove for awhile to a Nerf war is really low on the priorities list.

Another couple of things to keep in mind are what does Nerf mean to you; is it a sport? Something bigger? Milsim? Competitive event without rules and boundaries? I'm not one to judge but if you want competition then my thinking is Nerf's got to be a sport to you. But in that case, what happens when someone adds grease to a baseball, or corks a bat? Those mods get you removed from the game. Why? It gives an unfair advantage to you. Sure, other people can! But it's not the natural state of things. The truest test of a competitor shouldn't come from the tools, but from the level playing field from the tools given to you by certain standards and the skills you bring to add to the tools. Not all skis are made the same way, but no one's tried to do a Giant Slalom with rockets on.

You can say "not everyone's darts are the same!" but they're still the same basic construction. Maybe you'll get a baseball glove that fits a little differently but it doesn't have grooves or tacks on the inside for better grip. Because that's a drastic modification that increases performance well beyond reasonable parameters as established by the nature of the sport.

The NDTL is a fine example of how competitive Nerf should be. Would I like to see something at 50' rather than 20'? Sure. But that's not the toy they're making. They made a toy, and formed a decent competition structure around it but they still have to remember they make toys, not paintball markers. The blasters are pretty much stock and all built the same (minus whatever you toss on the tactical rail) and everyone's using the same darts. There's very little variation against the controls to skew the results save for the user. And I like that idea a lot. And with Nerf, you're allowed to move more! I had to squat and roadie run SO much on the paintball field and that's the nature of the beast there. With Nerf, there are so many more play styles available, and that's what appeals to me most when I pick up my blaster and slip on my vision gear. I just wonder, "How'm I going to play today?"

And it won't be long range.

But am I calling for an end to modifications? No, I'm calling for people to take stock of what exactly it is they're doing out there and what they're calling this fun little hobby. If it's a sport, treat it as such where circumstances are considered SPORTING. And when distinct perspectives about what constitutes a fun day out on the field clash together, that's where the line between attending and not attending becomes apparent.


Anyway, enough talk. Get out and Nerf!


Yours in foam,

Vas The Stampede


P.S. - We're still looking for our first submissions for Foamme Fatales! Guys, get your girls! Girls, get your blasters! Submit photos to: FoammeFatale@gmail.com!

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