Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rant: Respect + Nerf

There's a pretty strong likelihood that regardless of whether you're a technical modder, aesthetic modder, out of the box fan, HVZ/dart tag warrior or just a 12 yo kid; whether you like to role play, showcase in cabinets or crack things open to see how they work.. the fact that you're reading this now means you love toy blasters.  It's a weird and wonderful passion that we have and we all come to it from various backgrounds. I myself came from it due to the fact as a child, I was very very poor and didn't have a whole lot of toys let alone blasters.  I like the toy element (blasters are not the only toys I collect, which anyone who shows up at my place can attest to) of it all, enough so that I would dedicate so much of my spare time to managing a whole blog about toy blasters.

Everyone else in my world thinks I'm nuts.

Over the last few days, I've had quite the shipment of blasters arrive at my door, which has been awesome fun for me but has resulted in my living area looking like one massive toy gun war zone. With at least 9-10 blasters lying around, countless darts of various colours and shapes, packaging and wire ties littered all over the coffee table and an insane amount of cardboard boxes, packing tape, foam inserts, newspaper and broken polystyrene foam remains still scattered on the floor, you can understand it's not exactly the best time for people to stop by for a cuppa. Writing reviews takes time too, as does taking the photos and  making videos.. so I end up just leaving everything lying around in any free space I can find.

My partner, who is normally very accommodating of my toy "thang" finally snapped and made a rather abrupt comment to me that I basically had a very short period of time to clean up the place before.. "someone's gonna get a hurt reeeeaal bad":P And that's the whole thing isn't it; this may be my hobby, but it's sure as hell not hers. And while she can accommodate and accept this, she's only going to do keep being like this if I actually take the time to show her my passion for toys is NOT going to affect her life negatively in any way. I start ignoring her? She'll hate Nerf. I start shooting her when she's trying to be serious? She'll hate Nerf. I start leaving my blasters and packaging all over the living room for her to trip over and hurt herself? Needless to say... she'll hate Nerf.

People often ask me how my partner accepts all of the toys in the house, and the answer is she's fine with it, and up until this point she has been very supportive... until I was the one who made it something..bad. I was the one who took my love of toys and made it something she could no longer respect.

One of my best friends loves the fact I love my toys, and when she comes over she's happy to pick up a Vulcan and go postal at anyone who comes anywhere near her. Her words- 'I LOVE THIS GUN'. Alas she doesn't say that any more when she's constantly at wits end with her housemate whom has a tendency of taking over the communal living area with his Nerf haul all over the couch and table tops. She doesn't like Nerf anymore. Way to go, housemate.

I actually don't have any local friends who love this stuff as much as I do with the exception of Neil from the Canberra & Southern NSW Dart Tag crew. The very fact he's been successful with his organised Nerf wars and HVZ meets shows he's just as passionate about this stuff as I am, and to the outsider looking in they'd assume we share common ground, but to be honest, we have distinctly different views on toy blasters and there's a reason why I refuse to set foot in any organised Nerf war. I honestly, well and truly, have no interest whatsoever in doing so. And despite this, I am still asked if I partake in such activities and WHY not? Because I don't want to.

That being said- Neil gets this. So over the year we've become very good friends and while we may share a common interest, we can still be friends even though our views differ. Imagine if he was always bagging me out for not being a REAL nerfer and not participating in his Nerf wars; or if I was telling him he should also get into Transformers, He Man figures and Singstar. (I know!) There would be NO friendship if that were the case.

In turn, I hate it when my other friends insist I should "grow up" and stop enjoying my toys and get into more grown up pursuits like.. drinking. Entitled to a view, not everyone has to like it, but I don't need people forcing their way as "better" onto me.

Within the Nerf community, we all have different reasons to like these mad innovative toy blasters. I have nothing but utmost respect for the technical modders out there, aesthetic modders, organised game players; even the newbies with their first maverick. That's cool. And it's cool to share your opinions and talk about how you came to love this stuff. And the likes of Jerm from Nerf Mods and Brian from Johnson Arms are fellas I think are just really GOOD people without all the "you don't mod therefore I'm better than you" crap that gets thrown around. Even though when it comes down to it, they're both leaders in their field but I've never once copped any flack from them.

Just like the example of myself, my partner and our living room area- it therefore is up to YOU to allow others around you to see and respect what it is you love, rather than making it something they hate and resent.  It's a respect thing, a live and let live thing.  We're copping enough flack outside of the community from the ill informed and/or the media because we're not doing ourselves any favours by voluntarily associating our love of toy blasters with nastiness and ill will to others. We're playing with toys.. we're not soldiers!

I buy blasters so I can post them on here. I do my utmost to find the new, the rare, and the upcoming so I can do my best to give you guys informed decisions on whether you will want to buy them when they come out. Everything I know about this stuff, I post, because I love it, and I wanna share with everyone how cool foam/projectile, water, and laser tag blasters are. So without getting all hippy on you all, ease down with all the hate, and if you want people to respect your opinions, try respecting theirs first.

Whether it be within the toy blaster community or outside of it, it's all supposed to be in good fun.  I write a blog about toy blasters. It's not exactly life changing heroic stuff:)


  1. Well said Pocket.

    Also, this blog might not be "heroic," but having a few thousand people anxiously waiting your posts is pretty awesome.

    Thanks for the inspiration and support. Keep doin what you're doin.

  2. Well and generously spoken. We should all be so lucky to have a blog like this around (and now in Mobile format too! Thanks!) So keep fighting the good fight and keep tabs on your messes!

  3. Bro...I'm like you...

    20+ blasters...darts all over the place..I understand how you feel.

    especially the partner part.

    In the end though, it's a balance thing.

    Good luck! NERF or Nothin'!

  4. Hear, Hear! well said, i will always support and love your work! sam

  5. Awesome article, im in college and I love nerf. Painting, collecting, modding, it's a fun and fairly inexpensive hobby that I enjoy daily.

  6. oh man, well said. I have the same issue with people talking to me about my BMX, asking when i'll get a car instead of riding. but the thing is, they'll never understand what doing a backflip feels like, let alone the finer things in riding, but expect me to give it up because they told me to, and that really pisses me off. And, having nerfing as my second hobby, people say the same things about that too! I'm thankful that my other half understands all that, but ignorant people need to learn to open their eyes and realise not everyone loves to get drunk and dance stupidly in a club every chance they get.

  7. This is most of the reason that I always make sure all my blasters are in their storage rack at the end of every night. But seriously? Leaving the packing everywhere? That's just asking for trouble. I mean I don't want to call you lazy, but leaving the packaging everywhere is lazy. After you make sure the blaster works and have extracted it and its darts and accessories out of the packaging, stand up, pick up the packaging, and throw it away.

  8. I LOL'd at MacTrekkie's comment. "stand up, pick up the packaging and throw it away". Sounds good captain obvious.

    I would be in awe of the size of Urban Taggers' "storage crate". Where's your blog MacTrekkie? I bet it's really neat and tidy.

    It's ok Pocket. I UNDERSTOOD what you were on about.

  9. I just love the geekery that's involved in modding. In our forum blasted.de we once had a thread on how to make DIY Foam Rockets and the list went like: "I used pipe insulating foam as the body and rubber as the fins" etc., and someone just replied: "Jeez, what a bunch of cool nerds we are". Thanks a lot for that sentence, I think that hits the spot;)

  10. Hahaha.. I'd love to be the maid at Urban Taggers head quarters. Can you imagine what sort of cool gear they'd have waiting to be discovered?

  11. I'm happy to come out and say "Pocket, you my friend are lazy. You should have done the write ups on the Rayven CS-18 much sooner before everyone else."

    Oh wait. he did.

    Well you should have cleaned up after yourself. :-P

  12. I count almost 200 blasters from his list of "hauls" at the top of the blog, not including the new ones he has coming in. Pocket's also not in the US and chummy with Nerf like some of the other blogs, so I think he buys everything himself. That is incredible that ANY wife would be ok with that!

    We're thankful that she is though!

  13. Screw that who give's a flying doodle if they call you a kid. You know what they say, to grow old is inevitable, to grow up is optional. People need to loosen up some more!

    I've also notice it's a great way for fathers to get father and son time when they attend these wars. It's great.

    - littlebro05

  14. ""you don't mod therefore I'm better than you" crap that gets thrown around"

    Ugh, I hate people like that. "You don't even have an RSCB'd BBBB and angel-breeched Longshot? Wow, you suck."

  15. you have just given me hope. I understand what your saying. very well spoken.

  16. Haha, I agree with littlebro05. But the most I've ever been able to get some "father + child" time from Nerf would be me shooting my dad with the Praxis and the Alpha Trooper. I think I also shot my mom with a Barricade, too. xD. ~Amiante.

  17. Haha, I respect people who don't mod. However, I dislike those who don't at LEAST have a go at least one blaster. If they break it, and get turned of it, fair enough. However, I've broken several blasters in my time, but I just harden up and mod some more =).

    I've also noticed that in the modding community, we compete with each other in modding and testing them in wars. We have some notorious blasters being used, and I tell you what, they're some scary shit.

    In all serious, I know guys who come to these wars with just overhauled NiteFinder and they still sting like balls.

    Stock wars need to be set up like in the living room, indoors OR like how they do it in Dart Tag Championship style. If you play it outdoors on a huge field. It ain't gonna work. Needs cover and more cover and MOAR COVA.

    - littlebro05

  18. Well said, Pocket. Remember: aging is inevitable, maturing is optional!

  19. I agree too. I went to a friend's Nerf war and his dad joined in for maybe half of the war shooting kids with a Magstrike. It was fun.

  20. "I respect people who don't mod. However, I dislike those who don't at LEAST have a go at least one blaster."

    Pretty sure my grandma has never given it a go. I'm sure she'll not lose sleep knowing you dislike her.

    It's confirmed. I didn't wanna join in with this. But Lil Bro.. you are a douche.

  21. Hahaha.

    What if I want to just use a Nitefinder without it being so powerful it stings? How is pain from a toy a good thing? I am all for my kids dabbling around and being curious, but I would be very unhappy if they were wanting to hurt each other.

    Just because you 'Can'.. doesn't mean you should. Not everyone likes what you like lilbro5. Deal with it. You probably have a good following somewhere else, but I don't think this blog is really for you.

  22. This rant as you call it is less about Nerf and Toys and more of a commentary on the way people communicate in general. People have always had issues with things they don't understand or that aren't like them. That's a maturity thing there.

  23. My house mates and I have used Nerf guns for years and I have only now realised there was so much more to it than what we were doing. I've seen the pictures and videos of Nerf wars and we really decided it wasn't for us (I think a lot of people would have the same belief). Yes, we judged nerf war guys as being a bit too full on and geeky for our liking. But you're right about it being live and let live so do whatever makes you happy and you're not hurting anyone.

    We just continue with our weekly rituals of running through our house and backyard shooting each other before dinner:-) I like them the way they are as some casual fun. Having said that I am on a blog about Nerf guns. Maybe I am geekier than I thought.

  24. Great article, Pocket.
    I'm really annoyed with some of my friends now because they have fallen under the same curse as many: "I'm too old for Nerfing. I sold all my blasters 'cause they didn't hurt enough. Why do you still play with toys when you could be playing Modern Warfare 24/7?"
    I don't care much what other people do or think, but that just annoys the heck out of me.
    On the previous comments views on modding and what they think of people who don't, I recommend it to people if I think they can handle it. One of my friends heavily modded a Longshot and was pretty good. I recommended modding to him.
    The other broke his Nite-Finder putting too many rubber bands on it. I told him to stick to stock blasters ;)

  25. Well said pocket. I'm sensing some hostility in the comments. Isn't this exactly what pocket is talking about? Why are you guys bagging on each other... Seriously, respect peoples modding and stock decisions, I mean, lilbro, you have to realize you may get some flak here with what you said, and why are all of you killing him for it? He's entitled to his opinion, and you are yours. You don't need to criticize him. I'm not supporting pain or things, but I'm just saying, not every mod is for more power. He could be a painter or a shell-modder. You never know...

  26. when is the rayven out in the US?

  27. For years now, I've seen these new blasters, but I can never bring myself to actually walk into a store and buy one. It just seems rather mortifying for a 24 year old to be purchasing a what is essentially considered a children's toy. Maybe I should consider buying online. Anyways. Good article.

  28. It is good or myself, and clearly for many others, to have our point of view echoed in a way that is both broad and inclusive in its reach as well as focused and direct in its point. Personally, when considering my hobby in relation to those in my life who live outside of it, I am usually only seeking to present to them a way of understanding; a method of generating respect. It is indeed an important word- it is amusing and depressing at once how often we need reminded of that. Thanks as always Pocket.

    Seek always to be as a child. Joy has no greater purity.

  29. As long as the subject of modding has crept into the subject of respect...

    How do you restrict modding? To borrow an example from a rather similar hobby, in any organised paintball game, you have to "chrony" your marker beforehand to make sure that it's not firing the balls above a certain speed (and if it is, you won't be allowed to use it until you've turned it down). What is the Nerf equivalent? How do you make sure that nobody is running around with a blaster / dart combo that can punch out an eye?