Monday, September 22, 2014

Nostalgia vs Forward-Thinking

Last week, when I picked up a ZS Longshot, there were a couple of things I realized.  On the one hand, I embarrassingly enough found out that Drac had pretty much posted the same reaction to this blaster as I had.   I suppose it was also kinda neat to know that we were on the same page, but I just hadn't seen his video on it until it was brought up.  On the other, I've seen a lot of experienced modders kind of split on the return of the Longshot.  And yes, I know the Longshot has been on UK and Australian shelves for awhile now... but I kind of felt like it was a big deal to us clamoring US fans!

Here's the bit I've observed, and I'll use this bit from the r/Nerf page on Reddit from torukmakto4.
Sorry to be a pessimist but what is the allure of the LS system in this day and age? Elite CS is just as easy to work on, and just as rewarding for stock dart users in the end, and actually easier for noobs. The LS requires a lot of work to be viable in the stock dart world due to that pushback/reliability mess. If you want one to do a Retal's job, you either need a breech system, or you need to be the first to develop a conversion of the LS chamber to swinging-door. 
For stefan use, LS are a bit of a headache and have a number of mechanical shortcomings, and tend not to be cost effective. A lot of factors are going against the system from magazine cost/availability for stefans to weak bolt carriers breaking to very expensive aftermarket parts, and you hardly ever see a usable/reasonable build cost one shooting more than 200fps. 
For aesthetics and ergonomics they are very dated and clearly from a prior era where Hasbro Nerf was missing some modern lessons learned. Just look at the grip, the stock, the forend. Ouch.
 After reading this, I kind of sat back and thought "you know... he's got a REAL good point there."

I've seen a lot of experienced modders debate it, too.  Some of us seem to get caught a little more in the nostalgia and glory of this "Legendary" N-Strike Blaster... and they tend to say "YAY!  Now people can know the joys of modding like I did!"  Others are forward-thinking and can use modern Nerf examples of improvement to pick this big hunk of plastic to pieces.  Both sides make a lot of sense though.

Think about how much information there is out there on "Longshot Mods".  Use any search engine you like, but putting those two words in there will bring up a gazillion resources.  That's part of why I think a lot of Nerfers think that this is a great blaster to re-introduce to the community for newer players who "Haven't experienced the Joy of working with a Longshot".  This blaster has easily achieved an "iconic" status in the Nerf world through all of that.  However, historical significance doesn't mean it can hold up to the new technology and designs that are in these blasters almost a decade later.  There's no real way that it can.

Let's take one of Tactical Tag's famous matchups as an example:  the "Elite Longshot vs Nerf Retaliator".  When the Elite lineup was first introduced, I decided to modify a blue Longshot to look and perform like an Elite blaster would.  At the time, the 75 Ft Range Claims the Elite line was boasting was my target.  It didn't take much to get my old blue blaster to sling darts like that.  The usual AR Removals, Dead Space fill, and spring upgrades easily made the Longshot shoot to 75 feet flat.  When I finally got a Retaliator to match up against the Longshot I had built, I found that the 75 Ft ranges were more of an angled range instead of the flat ranges I was aiming for.

However, when I proceeded to modify my Retaliator with some simple mods... I quickly found out that there was a lot of potential sitting inside a smaller blaster.  With the same modifications (and a weaker spring), the modified Retaliator was slinging just like my Elite Longshot.  There are lots of blasters that I can think of, Retaliator included, that are more user-friendly and just as accessible to current Nerf modders that can be good to the modding community.  At the rate that people are pumping out reviews and mod tutorials and all kinds of stuff, the argument of "There's so much out there for the Longshot" doesn't hold much weight anymore.  It also means that there's less new ground to break with the Longshot, which I think is part of the excitement about modding new blasters.  Uncharted territory, doing stuff that hasn't been done or wasn't able to be done before... that kind of thing has been wrung out of the Longshot for eons.

Still, the Longshot still has that Star Power in the modding community, so many of us will still hold it on a pedestal.  Those who haven't had it before now have an opportunity to get their hands on one off a shelf instead of asking mom or dad to get on eBay or Craigs List.  When you're emotionally attached to what you do, which most Hobbyists will admit to, something like the Longshot will tug at your heartstrings and make you think of the Glory Days or what-have-you.  Those are the folks in the "Yay the Longshot is back" camp.  When you're more about the facts and numbers though... the Longshot is a past-it's-prime recolored aquamarine throwback that doesn't really mean anything.  There's no right or wrong at the end of the day as long as it does what you want it to.  And if it doesn't, just keep modding until it does!  That's really what will be valuable to the "next generation of Nerf modders" that we keep boasting about.


  1. Can't beat a Longshot for interior space though! Try putting speakers in your Retaliator :p

  2. I don't understand why there is even a debate over the new LS in the first place. At the end of the day it's just another blaster on the shelf like it was a few years ago. I could honestly care less for it's comparison with Elites, I get it, cheaper, smaller, and just as much potential now, and I'm pretty sure most nerfers know that by now. It's really all about taste at this point.

  3. A question for you all. With the imminent arrival of the Cyclone Shock Mega blaster, is the Magnus still a good option? I don't want to jump the gun, get the Magnus, and find out that the Cyclone Shock is better in every way for a little more cash.