Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rant: Nerf "Blasters" vs "Guns"

Larry's downfall was using a "blaster" against a guy with a rocket launcher. A real rocket launcher. 
The official terminology from Nerf is that they manufacture 'blasters'. It makes perfect sense- if you define a gun as a weapon that uses an explosive mechanism to fire a round- sure, they're not guns. But if you, like most people see a gun as a thing with a trigger and a barrel that fires something..well you can understand why people call them "guns".

Ask any parent, girlfriend, or any casual users who are not savvy with the official Nerf line, and they'll probably just call them toy "guns". Fans are quick to take up the term and defend it to the death..foam.. and if that's the terminology Nerf want to use, then I have no issue adopting the term as well. Now, while I personally don't call them guns,the thing is any which way you look at it..they look like guns. Lets just say you don't see Nerf being inspired by or resembling wild animals. (at least not recently.. anyway)
You only wish it was a REAL car...
A car.. is a large vehicle that has an engine that runs on some form of fuel. A Matchbox or Hotwheels car, however does not. It LOOKS like a car, but it's basically a small chunk of metal or plastic on wheels that you push along. But.. we still refer to them as "toy cars". Not.. "wheeled wonders" or something like that. We call it a car because it looks like a car. Makes sense.

Interestingly enough though, Nerf N-Force melee attack toys are actually called "swords". Not "thrust and parry rods" or something like that. For some reason, they feel more comfortable with referring them as what they actually are made to resemble- swords, axes and maces. And they're not made to look like any SPECIFIC sword or axe or mace (assuming there are specific examples of maces!).. just.. swords, axes and maces in general.

My guess would be the real reason why Nerf do not want to call their line guns is because they're trying to distance themselves away from all things normally associated with guns- killing, injury, death, violence and lots of other nasty things. They're pushing the dart tag, role play and outdoors fun aspect rather than the "kill kill die die" tilt. Which of course makes very good sense!

Foam dart blasters are not the only ones shying away from the term "gun" though. In the Lazer tag world, they're called "taggers" (which is a term I quite like..obviously). With water guns, they've adopted the "soaker" term, or a similar "water blaster" name. Even in other arenas, like.. the marshmallow wars world(?).. they too adopt the 'blaster' name:)

I'm more than happy to not refer to them as "guns". But lets face it, as Shakespeare  said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet". We all know what they are meant to look like- I just don't think it's a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

And it could have been worse- Nerf could have called them "shooters" or something dorky like that:P 


  1. Man! This Is Exactly What I Mean! Those geeks on the facebook fan page just won't shut up!

  2. Who cares what they're called!? Guns is what I say and it isn't gonna change.:p

  3. Hahaha, that's a very literary rant :)

  4. All true. We call them blasters on the facebook page because *Nerf wants us to*. Also we tend to do it anywhere in public (or that is publicly visible), because the last thing you want is someone to hear "Yeah, I keep all my guns under my bed in my dorm room" and call the cops.

    But in casual conversation, plenty of us call them "guns" for the reasons Pocket says.

  5. What? If he's got a Recon he's sure to beat any dude with a missile launcher's butt :)

  6. No, you need a Stampede for that... Recons only work against M-16s.

  7. I had only the Furyfire set for several years. Now,I'm a serious Nerfer and I write this post wearing a tactical vest and holding an Alpha Trooper. I only had the Furyfires because I didn't like "guns". Now that I'm more into Nerf I call them blasters. I defend this to the foam, as Pocket said.

  8. I call them blasters because that's the correct term the company uses and I want to be professional.