And while, things are very different now, there's still a part of me that wonders- what happened and can we ever bring back the epic water fight to it's former glory?
When it comes to toy blasters, what originally got me into them in the first place WAS the water gun. Water fights had always been the thing you do in Summer, whether it be in the school yard, back yard, beach, family gathering or whatever, and the water gun was the staple weapon of choice for any person wanting to upgrade from the milk carton or plastic cup. Water fights had universal appeal- you get someone wet, the natural response is they want to return the favour, so it was something that anyone, whether it was boys, girls, mums, dads, old, young- it didn't matter- everyone could get into it. Water fights also had something over any other type of battling, and that was the water bomb- yup when you water fight, you have grenades:D
And then, just when you thought you couldn't get any better, the game changed again with the release of the absolutely dominating Constant Pressure System (CPS) blasters of the mid to late 90s, resulting in pint-of-water-a-second soakage and huge tank capacities. So what would come next that could topple such power?
|CPS 2000. Now THAT was a cannon.|
Because of this era, Super Soaker managed to be synonymous with absolute water fight dominance. We say "It's Nerf or Nothing" but in those days, Super Soaker was it- even blasters that weren't Super Soakers were still referred to AS Super Soakers- every second competitor tried to create knock offs of the design but to no avail- Super Soaker was basically, the shiz. But then... something happened?
The Super Soaker began to decline in the past decade- some say it was when Larami was bought out by Hasbro and the original staff moved on, or some even suggest global warming- in Australia, we had major droughts and massive water restrictions, thus putting the water fight out of favour. Some believe it was a safety factor as laws became stricter and the rumours of taking out eyeballs with a stream of water began to scare the hell out of parents. In any case, we stopped seeing those awesome blasters on the shelves and water guns were reduced to pretty ordinary fares, mostly just variations of the worst kind of water gun ever- the piston/syringe style blaster with it's lack of functional trigger.
How the story goes- Larami employees- the original Super Soaker manufacturers before they sold out to Hasbro, left/were let go from the company and formed Buzz Bee. It is true many of the Water Warriors range of blasters that have come out from Buzz Bee share a similar pedigree to the Super Soakers of old, but they haven't been able to really establish themselves as the water gun kings because to the average joe in the street, the brand 'Super Soaker' stands for the best water blaster there is. And that's unfortunately the problem. Buzzbee has never really had the rep to claim top dog rights, even though anyone in the know would suggest they deserve it.
Flash forward to now, and the revamping of the Super Soaker brand in the past few years has aesthetically been fantastic. From the moment we got word of the Thunderstorm, the majority of new Super Soakers that have hit the market have looked amazing; massive props to the designers of the shells of those babies- gone are the weird looking bubble-and-pipe style gaudy fluoro colour schemed guns, replaced by some very schmick looking kit. They even make a fantastic starting point for amazing aesthetic mods.
That being said, when it comes to water guns, almost everyone who gets into them will say functionality and performance is so much more important than appearances. And these new Super Soakers share nothing with the original blasters than the name. They don't shoot far enough. They don't soak enough. They don't have the storage capacity. And while there are a few scattered blasters like the Point Break with an air pump, or the Hydro Cannon with a sort of CPS/flashflood action, we can definitely see that Super Soakers these days are no where near able to exert any form of dominance in a water fight.
|3 out of the 4 upcoming blasters are missing a trigger..|
|The original Arctic shock.|
This is one area where Hasbro could do well by popping out repaints of old blasters. Bring out some CPS blasters in a new colour scheme and watch water fight fans, both veterans and casual players rejoice. Even better- take the tech that they already own, and work on it to develop some new and improved kit that's more than just for show. They had it spot on right in the 90s- they can do it again.
Or has the market moved on? Do we not water fight anymore?
For me, it's scouring the internet for those selling the old CPS blasters on eBay and the like but really, I'm kinda hoping for the day where there's a resurgence in water blaster technology. I'd love to see Super Soaker be the iconic brand it used to be, but until then I'll be waving the flag of the old school kit, and knowing I will almost certainly win any local current day water fight arms race where challenged:D