Friday, October 11, 2013

Where's the "Big 3"?

They were large and in charge... but "Where are they now"?
As I reflected on this blog after passing the 600k mark, I started to think about why I started and who inspired me.  At the time, my inspiration was in what I would later call the "Big 3".  They were the 3 most influential blogs at the time: Nerf Mods & Reviews headed up by Jerm781, SG Nerf based out of Singapore, and Urban Taggers led by Pocket Esq.  Well, as of now... that scene has changed quite a bit.

In March of 2012, jerm781 left the scene of Nerf Mods & Reviews, though he handed things off to myself, JetCell, and Triangle to manage things. He didn't really "say" anything to folks outside of those that he left to manage the massive fanbase he earned.  We just couldn't keep up like he had before.  Then a number of other contributors, after seeing the decline in activity on NM&R, started showing up.  Coop, Psyk, Darth Rambo, & RS09 (just to name a few) started making their mark on the blog.  As time has chugged on, the blog has still lost quite a bit of steam.  Ask anyone in the Nerf blog scene and across the board, the result is "NM&R just isn't the same".  I think it's because no-one really truly "claimed" this blog as their own... and taking mental ownership of something can really be the difference between being an "author" and holding your entire reputation and standard of quality on it.  It's a shame, but it's reality.

SG Nerf, while never really known for being the most active blog in the world, has yet to really "wow" us with their usual inside scoop for news and high-level reviews in awhile.  2013 looks to be an all-time low for posts, as the years leading up to it were averaging about 50-60 posts per year.  They currently sit at a whopping 17 posts on the year with 2 and a half months left to go.  Focus has clearly shifted from their usual earth-shattering news and clean-as-can-be modifications to more of a "these are events that are happening... every now and then".  Again, it's really become quite an archive of sorts like NM&R.  Plenty of history and valuable content on previous blasters, but nothing really "new" to speak of.

This summer, my good friend Pocket Esq at Urban Taggers gracefully finished things out on his blog.  He still participates on Facebook, gives feedback, and contributes, but I miss the days of checking my Blogger Dashboard and seeing some awesome Pic Spam or some sweet news from UT.  The thing that has really set Pocket apart from the other "Big 3" is that it was more than just a great source for news or a cool review on a blaster, but there was an aesthetic appeal, almost an art to how things were approached visually with UT.  And I'm talking more about the hot chicks he gave some camo and blasters to.  The pictures were always great, taken with care, and always with the best effort to show us what he found interesting.  Pocket wrote in a similar fashion as I do (including his awesome rants) so I really identified with him from the start.  He's also the only one of the "Big 3" that actually put an <END> point on his blog whereas SG and NM&R have just continued to "exist" with spurts of contributions from time to time.

So, as it stands, those blogs are essentially either MIA, Second-Hand, or all done with their work.  Fan-based contributions always move in waves, so maybe it's time I figure out what my new "Big 3" will be.  There's still great blogs out there, but will I cash in on a blog only to see it phase out again like the others?  Or will one of the dormant superpowers revitalize itself and liven things up?  Or maybe something completely different we don't even see coming?  Where do you think our beloved Nerf Blogs are headed?  I'm serious, weigh in on where we're at as a blogging community.


  1. There are a few quiet contenders out there. I like Buffdaddy Nerf, Better Nerf by Science, they have ultra clean photo mod guys, Toruks "Dart Zone" for mods and data. I agree about the art of UT. He was like the Dogtown of Nerf, in having that strong visual style and great writing.
    I have enjoyed your blog too, keep going!

  2. We're an army without a General right now... we've got some Lieutenants, but it'll be up to us to elect a leader. At the moment, My Last Dart is pretty good with the news and leaks and stuff. But NDAs restrict what he's able to tell us. Could you imagine what MLD cold tell us without any NDAs?!?

  3. My big three are Tactical Tag, Basic Nerf, and MLD. I've bookmarked Buffdaddy Nerf as well, since he seems to cover non nerf brands that often slip under the radar.

  4. I think all that fiasco with Hasbro cracking it over people obtaining blasters before release has put some hurt in the mix. so now the early news we used to get from the big 3 is limited to baidu and reddit and comes from people wearing masks to hide their identity.

    There is a lot I want to do with my blog but it went by the wayside with the lack of time, money and lack of contacts in china. on sying that, the free time I get to spend on nerf now is largely spent at wars and such, rather than modding and it's usually little things that come from that that makes it to my blog.

    It's definitely a good thing you're still in the mix, otherwise I would have given up a while ago.

  5. You might never find your big three, considering you have become one of the big three.

    Though I was looking at My Last Dart and Basic Nerf to somewhat fill the void left from them, they seem to have quieted down. But it is perhaps that the interest in Nerf has moved on from a dedicated niche to more of a general awareness. It's moved past the wild fluctuations in the hype curve and finally leveled off. There are clearly people that appreciate Nerf deeply, but you don't find them on forums or blogs anymore. You see them where everyone else on the internet is: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter... I found the same issue happen to the Ace Combat community a few years ago, and as a result, the website I run has quieted down quite a bit, while our "big three" in the community have turned more into a "modest few". But there's nothing wrong with that I feel. Now that the community has quieted down, we can sort of "get back to work" as it will and actually talk about the hobby we love so much without some of the old tired arguments getting in the way during it's heyday.

    On that note, that is perhaps where we are headed. The community is going to level off and become comfortable with itself again, no more of that division, more into the fun of simply getting friends together for a Nerf war again. This is why I appreciate blogs like Basic Nerf, or websites like AFON, and especially Tactical Tag, Zook. You actually go out there and have fun, promote discussion on the experience rather than just the technical details of the product despite your superb modding creativity and experience. You talk about the fun of the sport, not the statistics, and let your personality shine through to give your posts a true signature, and it makes people of like-interests truly feel like they're with kindred spirits.

    The community is going to quiet down for a while, but it's a good thing. We can finally get back to the experience. Perhaps what we're going to finally do is stop being solely completionists and competitors and get back to the fun of the game that we all probably initially came here to talk about in the first place. There might be less posts, but there will be more actual play, more spur-of-the-moment office wars. We just will find that we don't have to always talk about them, we just let them happen because we enjoy the moment.

  6. I'm thinking that part of it is that the smaller blogs were, not through anyone's coercion or conscious acts, made to fit into smaller niches than the Big 3 in order to not simply be drowned out. My blog, Coastal Bend Action Sports, covers or tries to cover more general topics like gear that supplements your blaster, tactics that will help players stay in game longer. E.g. reviewing tactical gear, slings, and also letting our writers publicly argue for their different view points rather than having a single viewpoint for the blog.

    A Gray House's blog, The Document, went silent for a year until i poked him and got a momentary start of activity. People need to know people are actually reading.

    Pouring your guts into a blog and having nobody show any interest isn't soul crushing but it doesn't make someone want to continue doing the work, because they feel they aren't helping anyone.

    1. Psh, I'd love to know how you poked him. I was looking at having a new #1 on my radar, and then he just vanished from the scene... I was pretty depressed... Such an awesome blog, and such great ideas!

    2. I see your last point there Animal and I happen to agree with you but for me at least, blogging is a personal thing.

      I find that blogging is a good way for me to collate my thoughts on a subject I have a great affection for. The fact that other people read and enjoy the blog is just an added bonus for me.

    3. I emailed him, asking if he had abandonned The Document a a project. Sadly he went quiet again about the time that UT did. Drop him a line, let him know we love him

  7. Does this mean I inspired a Tactical Tag post??????

  8. Buffdaddy is still a nice option- Veradux
    P.S.-More like great 5, buffdaddy and you are definetly good :)

  9. It's sad that they left, but it's unrealistic to expect anyone to Nerf forever. Everyone has to move on eventually. They'll always have a place in our hearts, though: as the greatest generation of bloggers, for they were the ones who started it all.

  10. I would tend to agree that Tactical Tag, My Last Dart, and Basic Nerf have moved to the top of the pack. When NM&R changed over to multiple contributors it lost something; seriously though, think about that, a blog can be personal, and it has a lot to do with the voice behind the blog. To many voices, and its just overwhelming, it ceases to be entertaining. Also, I think Nerf is largely to blame, the Longshot was released in 2006; that's seven years ago now, and it's still by far the most legendary platform.Not that Nerf hasn't been releasing much, rather quite the opposite, they've been flooding the market so fast that modders can't keep up; it's overwhelming, and it's costly. I've reached the point where I no longer buy Nerf guns new, I buy them at thrift shops, or not at all... Not because I don't want a Rapidstrike, but because I know when the batteries go dead the parents will send it to goodwill...
    On an entirely separate note I'd love to blog more, I'd love to get better, I'd love to learn, but I'm a college student; thus my blog suffers. I'd also agree that "community" drives these things, and that Facebook and Youtube are avenues that a good blog MUST work through, but know-one should under-rate comments (a good comment base helps keep posts coming). People aren't payed to blog, unless you run an extremely successful AdSense, and so life runs it's course. and people get busy. Okay, I ranted long enough...
    Check out my blog, that rarely get's posted too, but most importantly... Comment!

  11. I've followed jerm for many years and that's why I started my blog in the first place and I was pretty disappointed when he shuttered his contribution of the blog for good. I know people have lives to live and Blogging is hardly my top priority, I just enjoy doing it and I can totally understand why somebody would quit any hobby for the same reason. Nerf is a silly hobby, it's intended for little kids yet it's fun as hell and you can get really into it but you can't keep going forever. It's just one of those things that you just gradually grow out of. Basically the internet made Nerf what it is today and without jerm, Pocket, you name it, we wouldn't be anywhere close to where were at today and you got to give them major credit for their work through timeless hours of modding, reviewing and in Pocket's case, potential lawsuits just to get word out to us. Anyways I hope to seeing great things coming from this blog, My Last Dart and any of the smaller blogs floating around out there, maybe one of them could be next in line for the throne.

  12. This comment comes a bit after the post date, but you might as well as My Last Dart and Adult Fans of Nerf to the list of MIA for the past month+, too. Either people are really slacking or there's some serious NDA action going on. Incidentally, there have been some quick post removals just after subscription notifications, as well. Has Hasbro finally shot itself in the foot by trying to clamp down too forcefully on Zombie Strike or some other news? Nevertheless, thanks for your blog work with Tactical Tag, Bazookafied. At least you're finding interesting and original ways to keep related posts coming. You're definitely the new #1.

    1. This whole NDA business is really annoying I got to agree with you X. Why aren't the US blogs under the same gag order?

  13. Hi great blog! Just found you reading through some old posts by MyLastDart recommending fans check you out. I got to say I really enjoy your articles TacticalTag. Incidemtly people are recognising the absence of MyLastDart as quitting or losing interest is misguided. He actually underwent major back surgery so is recovering right now. His last update was he had limited internet access and was learning how to walk again. That kind of takes priority over toy guns.

    Flying straight back on topic, I feel BasicNerf MyLastDart are definitely my go to places for info. The 3rd I don't know.

    BasicNerf is a leading blog due to his battle videos. No one really other than him does them to a high standard. Also he gets info from a lot of fans. He has gone quiet but that's real life and college for you. Basic has done a swell job in my book and remains one of my stock go to bookmarks.

    MyLastDart is a real nice guy who genuinely loves Nerf and he gives back to fans in latest Nerf property. He kind of rocked on to the stage with breaking news and has given us a lot of coverage on other brands and Nerf events and releases. He really has a lot of contacts and his page view mile stones compared with other blogs is pretty amazing. Comparing these type of social things he pretty much does well. He does review and opinion and chat videos but no wars to date. But I don't think he is able to make them or he doesn't want to. he is also pretty community focused so its nice to see that from one of the main biggest blogs.

    I liked adultfansofnerf, but they just kind of fizzled out right? Almost agree, add them to MIA list as someone mentioned earlier. FFA is kind of in the same boat. Some of his stuff is good but its not cutting edge news. ClickClickBamf do some great coverage but again real life has pulled them back in to real life. There are smaller blogs but they don't seem to be doing enough or quality focused. I'm surprised no one mentioned RandomShadow09 or SouthernBrisbaneNerfClub. They both do a lot amd SBNC has really done well bringing us good news. Could we even throw Reddit/Nerf into the hat? How about the BayAreaNerf guys? They're fun, pretty current and are unique that they are a podcast.

    I grew up with sgnerf and nmr and Pocket/UrbanTaggers and have been bummed out as they quit or fade away. As an old Nerf blog reader and fan I can say MyLastDart BasicNerf are for sure the top 2 but who the 3rd is what is open for discussion.

    Thanks for the chance to speak,

    Dale, 21 tx