Nerf

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For other uses, see Nerf (disambiguation).
NERF
Nerf logo.svg
Type Toy weapons, foam balls
Inventor
Company
Country United States
Availability 1969–present
Materials Foam, plastic, rubber
Slogan
  • "There's only one Nerf." (classic)
  • "Get Real. Get Nerf." (classic 2)
  • "Play Your Game." (2003)
  • "It's Nerf or Nothin'!" (current)
  • "Accept No Substitutes" (current)
  • "Enlist, Engage, Enforce" (N-Strike)
  • "Bend the rules of Battle" (Vortex)
  • "The Wetter the Better" (Super Soaker)
  • "Light It Up!" (Light it up)
Official website

Nerf (trademarked in capitals as NERF) is a toy brand created by Parker Brothers and currently owned by Hasbro. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, but there are also several different types of Nerf toys, such as balls for sports like football, basketball, baseball, and others. The most notable of the toys are the dart guns (referred to by Hasbro as "blasters") that shoot ammunition made from Nerf foam. Since many such items were released throughout the 1970s, Nerf products often feature bright neon colors and soft textures similar to the flagship Nerf ball. The slogan frequently used from the 1990s advertising until now is "It's Nerf or nothin'!".

Nerf material[edit]

Nerf foam (Non-Expanding Recreational Foam) is made from a solid, spongy cellular material. To produce it, polyester resin reacts with another compound in the presence of CO2 from another reaction. It is this gas that creates open pockets within the polyurethane that, in turn, make the material soft and light.[1]

History[edit]

Original Nerf (styled NeRF) logo (1969-1990)

Parker Brothers originally developed Nerf, beginning with a four-inch (102 mm) polyurethane foam ball. In 1969, Reyn Guyer, a Minnesota-based games inventor, came to the company with a volleyball game that was safe for indoor play, and after studying it carefully, Parker Brothers decided to eliminate everything but the foam ball. In 1970, the Nerf ball was introduced as the "world's first official indoor ball", the name "Nerf" being a slang term for the foam padding used in off-road racing.[2] Marketing slogans promised that one can "Throw it indoors; you can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people."[3] The ball filled a strong consumer need and by the year's end, more than four million Nerf balls had been sold.[4] The four-inch (102 mm) ball was followed by a large version called "Super Nerf Ball". Shortly after, in 1972, a basketball game called "Nerfoop" and the Nerf football joined the family, with the latter quickly becoming Nerf's most popular ball.[5]

The company continued to add to the Nerf line until they handed control to Kenner Products, a sister company, in 1991,[6] when Hasbro acquired the Nerf line through the acquisition of the Tonka Corporation.[7] Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Nerf brand served under the subsidiaries OddzOn and Larami before Hasbro took full control of the brand.[8]

Over the years, Nerf has continued to expand the line, adding new looks to existing products, with later lines of Nerf products ranging from sport balls and foam dart blasters to video games and accessories.[9]

In February 2013, Hasbro announced the release of "Nerf Rebelle", a sub-line aimed at girls. The first product, the Heartbreaker bow, was released in Fall 2013.[10] In November 2013, POW! Books published The Ultimate Nerf Blaster Book. Written by Nathaniel Marunas, the book highlights the history of Nerf and provides details on every N-Strike, Dart Tag, and Vortex blaster produced at the time of the book's release.[11][12]

Products[edit]

Nerf Sports[edit]

The Nerf Sports (or N-Sports) line is a wide range of foam balls that resemble real sports balls. They are designed with different color schemes and features, with some of their footballs featuring color schemes and logos of the NFL. In addition, the tail-fins characteristic of Nerf Sports' Vortex sub-line (not to be confused with the blaster sub-line of the same name) cause the foam footballs of which it is comprised to resemble torpedoes and fly greater distances.[13]

Nerf Blasters[edit]

Main article: Nerf Blaster

Nerf's most popular products are Nerf Blasters,[citation needed] which are toy plastic guns that shoot foam darts, which are, among other things: Velcro-tipped in order to stick to Nerf vests, tipped with suction cups designed to stick to smooth surfaces, streamlined to fit in magazines, some able to whistle in flight, or a color variation, such as camouflage, color swap, and glow in the dark. Most Nerf blasters have tactical rails that accommodate different attachments, but there are also some that attach through special adapters like barrel extensions and stocks. The main sub-line of Nerf blasters is N-Strike, which was first launched in 2004 and updated in 2012 as N-Strike Elite.[14]

In September 2011, Hasbro introduced a third sub-line of Nerf blasters called Nerf Vortex. The line's blasters fire small green, bright orange or white glow-in-the-dark discs made of soft plastic covered in foam. The Vortex blasters have a firing range up to 60 feet.[15]

The new Elite darts.

In 2013, Hasbro unveiled two new Nerf blaster sub-lines: Zombie Strike and Rebelle. Zombie Strike is geared for fans of Humans vs. Zombies games,[16] while Rebelle is aimed at the female demographic.[17]

Nerf N-Force[edit]

The N-Force line consisted of foam swords and melee weapons. The swords fit into the back sheath of the Nerf N-Strike tactical vest and the Nerf N-Strike bandolier kit.[18]

In 2011, Hasbro released special edition N-Force weapons to promote the Marvel Comics/Paramount Pictures film Thor. This line consists of Thor's Hammer,[19] Thor's Sword and Odin's Sword. The Armor of Asgard Thor Battle Hammer was re-released alongside a new, electronic version called Thor Thunder Clash Hammer for The Avengers film in 2012.

In 2013, Hasbro released the Snake Eyes Blade of Justice for the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[20]

Super Soaker[edit]

Main article: Super Soaker

Originally owned and marketed by Larami, Super Soaker is a popular line of water guns. Recently, Hasbro has released a line of Nerf-branded Super Soaker blasters.[21]

Lazer Tag[edit]

Main article: Lazer Tag

Lazer Tag, a popular laser tag toy line from the mid-1980s, is also currently part of the Nerf banner.[22] The current generation Lazer Tag blasters attach to iPhones or iPod Touch units for enhanced playability.[23]

Nerf Dog[edit]

In June 2013, Hasbro and Grammercy Products unveiled Nerf Dog, a line of Nerf-inspired canine retrieving toys made of rubber, nylon and plastic. Nerf Dog was launched at Walmart stores, and debuted at pet specialty stores in Fall 2013.[24][25]

Video games[edit]

Nerf has also produced video game accessories for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi, DS Lite, 3DS and the Wii.[26] Visionary Media, Inc. released the first-person shooter Nerf Arena Blast (or NAB, sometimes Arena Blast) in 1999. EA Games, in association with Hasbro, released the 2008 video game Nerf N-Strike[27] and its 2009 sequel Nerf N-Strike Elite. Both games feature the Switch Shot EX-3, which doubles as a functional dart blaster and a Wii Remote accessory.[28]

Awards[edit]

In 2011, the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS was awarded "Boy Toy of the Year" and the Nerf Super Soaker Shot Blast won "Outdoor Toy of the Year" at the 11th Annual Toy of the Year Awards, which is held at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.[29]

In 2014, the Nerf Zombie Strike Crossbow won the award for "Best Action Toy" at the 2014 U.K. Toy Fair.[30]

Legal issues[edit]

In June 2010, Hasbro sued Buzz Bee Toys and Lanard Toys for patent violation of its Nerf and Super Soaker brands. The lawsuit stated that Buzz Bee and Lanard infringed two U.S. patents for the Nerf N-Strike Disc Shot blaster, while Buzz Bee infringed on a Super Soaker patent.[31] In November of that year, Hasbro won its patent case against Buzz Bee with the latter banned from producing certain water guns.[32]

In April 2012, Hasbro sued the Australia-based fan blog "Urban Taggers" for leaking information on unreleased Nerf products found on the Chinese marketplace website Taobao.[33] Hasbro allegedly tricked one of the bloggers into disclosing his home address for their lawyers to mail him a cease and desist letter. The incident resulted in fans setting up a campaign on Facebook boycotting Hasbro; in effect, Hasbro posted a first-quarter loss on North American sales, with their stocks dropping 4.1% to US$34.46 per share.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Nerf Material". Museum of Learning. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  2. ^ "Nerf 1968". Reyn Guyer Creative Group. Retrieved January 6, 2013. "Parker Brothers decided to name the balls NERF after the foam padding that off-the-road enthusiasts wrapped around their roll-bars." 
  3. ^ http://www.theplaymakers.com/welcome/archives/n2.jpg[dead link]
  4. ^ "The History of Toys". History.com. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2009-11-07. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Who Needs an Indoor Ball? YOU Do, Apparently". GIZMODO. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  6. ^ "The story of Parker Brothers". Hasbro.com. Retrieved 2009-11-07. [dead link]
  7. ^ "The history of Hasbro, Inc". Hasbro.com. Retrieved 2009-11-07. [dead link]
  8. ^ "NC News - Larami Takes the Helm". Nerfcenter.com. Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  9. ^ "NERF - Welcome to Hasbro's Official NERF site". Hasbro. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  10. ^ Busis, Hillary (2013-02-08). "Hasbro introduces Nerf Rebelle line for girls, starting with the Heartbreaker bow -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-02-10. 
  11. ^ "NERF: The Ultimate Blaster Book". powerHouse Books. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  12. ^ Mixson, Colin (2013-12-02). "Master blaster: Prospect Heights dad wrote the book on Nerf". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  13. ^ "Nerf Sports". Hasbro. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  14. ^ "NERF - All Products". Hasbro. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  15. ^ "Nerf - Vortex Blaster Toys". Hasbro. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  16. ^ Bricken, Rob (2013-07-11). "Prepare for a Nerf apocalypse with the new Zombie Strike line!". Io9. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  17. ^ Greenwald, Will (2013-06-28). "Nerf Tips iPhone Scope, Rebelle Line For Girls, Lots More Guns". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  18. ^ "Nerf N-Force". Hasbro. Retrieved 2011-01-06. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Armor of Asgard Thor Hammer by Hasbro". Marvel.com. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  20. ^ "G.I. Joe: Retaliation Nerf Snake Eyes Blade of Justice". Time to Play. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  21. ^ "Nerf - Super Soaker". Hasbro. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  22. ^ "Lazer Tag Nerf Two-Player Battle System". Hasbro. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  23. ^ Engadget.com - Hasbro Reinvents Lazer Tag for the Smartphone Generation
  24. ^ "Nerf Dog Debuts". Global License!. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  25. ^ Irwin, Tanya (2013-06-20). "Hasbro Launches Nerf Dog". MediaPost. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  26. ^ "Pelican NERF PS2 Controller". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-23. 
  27. ^ "IGN: Pelican Wiimote NERF Sleeve Exclusive Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-07. 
  28. ^ "Nerf N-Strike Elite Review". IGN. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  29. ^ Per-Lee, Myra. "The 11 Best Toys of 2011". InventorSpot. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  30. ^ "U.K. Toy Fair: 2014 Toy Winners Announced". Global License!. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  31. ^ "Hasbro Sues Buzz Bee Toys and Lanard Over Patents". Reuters. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  32. ^ "Hasbro Wins Patent Case Against Buzz Bee". Reuters. 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2011-01-25. 
  33. ^ Biggs, John (2012-04-25). "Hasbro Goes After Blogger in IP Theft Case". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 
  34. ^ Crook, Andrew (2012-04-24). "Nerf guns at 10 paces: Hasbro faces boycott after siccing lawyers onto fan site". Crikey. Retrieved 2013-01-24. 

External links[edit]