Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Edge of Innovation: Part 1

If there's one thing I've noticed with Nerf and the fans that follow it is the pursuit of being "Innovative".  To bring something new to the market is a tricky thing.  Make something too bland to stand out and it'll just float along with the rest of it's mediocre friends.  Make something too extreme and it'll be set on fire as an example to all.  Even outside of the Nerf realm, other companies that have tried to do something never-before attempted have flopped on themselves.

In the wake of a recent blaster unveiling, the ZombieStrike SlingFire, I saw a mix of receptions for this "new" blaster.  Among those reactions, there were a few folk who were expecting something more ground-breaking than a lever-action clip-fed blaster.  Considering that there have been lever-action blasters before, this feature is really just new to the brand, not the foam-dart blaster world in general.  There's not a feature to the blaster that really tells you the guys on the Nerf floor at Hasbro were really thinking outside the box.  It's a safe, conservative move.

What I'm interested in trying to discover is the edge of where an Innovative Design can ride be successful.  In order to identify this, we first need to isolate what it needs to share.  Once we've done that, we'll move on to isolating elements that have not worked well in the past, as well as problems that could be solved on current blasters.  For the sake of discussion, I'm going to focus on a blaster that can fire Elite Darts.  Who knows?  By the time we're done with this 3-Part series, we may have an awesome idea for Nerf to try out!  Or at least help them avoid future flops.

This is where you come in.  I've got some ideas, but I need your input on this to help create a consensus on what's in, what's out, and what's needed.  When we've agreed on that, we'll start looking for an innovative feature to build onto the core elements of our blaster.


  1. Something I'd like to see is a sort of revolver-like blaster that chambers Sledgefire-type shells; revolver-like because a clip for those would be impractical and excessive, and send them all over the place.

  2. My wish-list:
    Shotgun-type blasters (Roughcut, SledgeFire) are awesome. More please Hasbro. Maybe one with twin clips for fast reloads and high capacity?

    Melee. Please sell it in Australia this time. And a bayonet tactical rail attachment would be nice.

    Speaking of tactical rails, it'd be nice to have something blue to put on them. More variation in stocks would be nice too, maybe (an elite) one that can hold an extra clip? Or the one in the Revonix manual?

    To be honest I think we've had a pretty good year when it comes to innovation. With the original two ZombieStrike blasters, the Revonix and the Centurion (yes I know it sucks, but the idea behind it is solid, if not the execution).

  3. We need another belt-fed blaster, nerd just made an elite vulcan belt...

  4. I would like to see a rotating shotgun cylinder that works like a strong arm but fires the sledgefire 3 shots at a time setup, that could be 3x8 for a total of 24 darts. I also want to see a semi auto electronic plunger system that works well, and finally an internal shotgun esk internal mag like the quick 16's that doesn't jam and is easy to reload quickly. I also really want a compact revolver blaster that uses the triad plunger in handle setup.

  5. Bayonet mount is never going to happen. There is no way that thrusting the barrel of a nerf blaster at anyone can be made safe. Even with LARP swords, thrusts are usually not allowed. Think of all those kids knocking each other's teeth out, the only people likely to love that are dentists!
    The mega line needs a revolver, SBNC did a great concept one.
    A nerf bow that is actually a bow, not a blaster with a string. If Nom can make one from plumbing parts then we could have a nerf one?
    Agreed on the belt feed, kids love that feature of the Vulcan and the Punisher uses it with flywheels, something nerf could note.
    Why can't we have a mag fed air blaster? Nobody has made one commercially and it would be epic.

  6. Miniguns, more foam rockets, less clip reliabilty and ball guns, also, a "vintage" nerf line which has similar ranges to the original N Strike, we need the wackiness and craziness of the original nerf era, we need innovation, experimenting.

  7. Sorry for double post, but we need more sights, and this time from htem to be widel sold, the pinpoint sight is great but it was limited, we need open releases, not more mechanical sights, we also need some kind of grenade launcher attachment, and a real shotgun, with spread.

  8. There's only so much you can innovate with the clip fed platform. Lever action, bolt action, pump action. 6 clip, 12 clip, 18 clip, drums. Stock attachments and tactical rails. Plunger tube or flywheels.

  9. I want more Sledgefire shell-based blasters. The revolver suggested by Blackout is a great idea, but here's what I was thinking:
    Belt fed, Elite ranged full auto blaster. My ideal version integrates a means of easily connecting and disconnecting the shells that make up the belt. Hopefully it'd mean we'd be getting Sledgefire shells sold separately.
    Idea number two also uses Sledgefire shells, and it's a pretty simple one:
    Underbarrel shotgun. Loads the shells in an M203-esque fashion, and is mounted on a tac rail.
    Lastly, I think the MEGA line has loads of potential, but the designs put out by Hasbro are somewhat lacking. I wish they'd released the Magnus in a Nitefinder/Firestrike format instead of having an internal mag, but that's just me. I think the MEGA series as of right now has a hole in its lineup, a hole that can only be filled by FLYWHEELS! Imagine a belt-fed (MEGA mags just aren't too feasible tbh), full auto flywheel based blaster! Akin to the Gatling Blaster manufactured by Airzone, but firing MEGA darts at MEGA ranges!

    Also- Give us Nerf grenades! And Pinpoint Sights! And a Nerf branded ACOG style sight! And moar tacticool goodies!


  10. I believer we need to see some blaster combinations, like the older Dart tag blasters.

  11. I believe what nerf truly needs is competition. In order for them to be pushed to innovate they need some other company (buzz bee I'm looking at you) to be making blasters that are just as good if not better. If two companies are competing they will constantly be making new blasters in order to see what sells. and not only will there be MORE blasters but there will be more unique blasters with more interesting designs and concepts. another major thing that needs to happen is an update in ammunition. if they came out with a smaller better weighted dart similar to the silicone tip stefans you see a lot these days they could make more interesting and streamline blasters. and they could still keep the other ammo types so that there would be different "caliber" rounds similar to real firearms and each ammo type has its benefits so that each person can use what fits them the best.

  12. I think if someone would produce a blaster line with a good solid main blaster but have tons of acceseries to allow the players to truely customize (thinking something like the RAP4 of Nerf) that would be amazing. One of the things that springs to mind right away is a customizable barrel attachment that would give you the ability to prime the blaster with pump action but have it made so that you could choose between a shotgun style grip or something more like a raider's front grip. Basicly a good fully modular blaster wit loads of acceseries. Even real steel style rails like Tel Recon has so you don't have to wait for the company to make scopes, lights etc

  13. The single-stack "clip" magazines are unnecessarily long. I don't know if the foam in the darts would hold up, but even a double-stacked magazine would allow for higher capacities without the bulk of a drum. Think of applications like sniping with a bipod (e.g., Longshot or Stampede) where there's not much ground clearance. I'm not sure why Buzz Bee hasn't done this already, since it would be much easier to double-stack those hard orange cartridges inside a magazine than with bare foam darts. It's clearly possible, since there were once some airsoft guns that made use of hard plastic "cartridges" inside a magazine.

    Stocks that aren't straight-line stocks (e.g., a Supersoaker Thunderstorm stock) would also be useful if sold separately, though there's nothing innovative about that.