Vas The Stampede
Nerf N-Strike Elite, Nerf Rebelle, Nerf Sports, Super Soaker, Zombie Strike, Mega, 3rd party licensed electronics, Oh my!
(update!) Here's a video of the Nerf Slingfire -
2014 marked my 4th year attending the American International Toy Fair in New York City. I can't believe it either, honestly. To walk that floor with all the brands, bigwigs, and toys, there's almost nothing else like it. FAIR WARNING - I have a LOT to say in this post, so there's a lot of reading (and some pics!) so more after the break -
This Fall will be a very interesting year for Nerf. The showroom had new entries for Nerf N-Strike Elite, Mega, Zombie Strike, and Rebelle. Information had been released leading up to the show (Nerf Zombie Strike Doublestrike, Nerf Cam ECS-12, Nerf Rebelle Agent Bow - Secrets & Spies, the Nerf Zombie Strke Slingfire, Nerf Demolisher 2 in 1, and Nerf Mega Thunderbow) and while all the speculation, wild chatter, and yea/nay can be fun, I always put the most weight when I have the blaster right in front of me. I already posted some firing videos on the F2A Facebook and Instagram feeds, but rest assured I have some high quality video too and that will go up on youtube shortly. As I stay at Toy Fair the whole time (it's a lot of fun, seriously. I wouldn't give it up for the world) there's a lot to go through.
"Zombie Strike" and "Secrets and Spies" are Nerf's attempts at telling a narrative, having a backstory to their blasters. These are also attempts to cash in on current pop culture (obviously) trends, but who can blame them? With certain TV shows being so popular and other game types, it was inevitable that Nerf would finally pick up on it and jump in.
Interesting note about the Rebelle for 2014 - compared to the naming schemes for last year, "Pink Crush, "Heartbreaker Bow", and so on (I think the "Guardian" may have been the main exception) something changed. "Rapid Red", "Agent Bow" indicate this, although "Diamondista" seems to carry over from last year. "Spylight" could just as easily have fit into the N-Strike line, though maybe as "SpylightFireUltraHyperShot REV-6."
Word has it research showed girls imagined themselves as spies with last year's blasters, hence the innovation towards decoders and things. Very retro tech, reminiscent of old sticker collection books I had back in the 80s.(I remember a Super Mario Bros. and Voltron one, specifically. They were awesome.)
If I can highlight some things about the Agent bow...
- Integrated Pinpoint sight
- It has an actual "nock" to hook onto the string, much detail, such archery. Wow.
- It just looks great. Sleek and imposing even, and the bow arm mounted quiver is a really nice addition. (check the gallery).
- I did ask to be shot with the Agent Arrows (under protest from my tour guide), but I had to be able to tell you what it's like to be hit with them. Personally, I didn't find it any worse than getting shot with a Mega Dart from a Centurion at point blank (ask BasicNerf). The heads are just as soft as Mega Dart whistler heads, the plastic shaft of the arrow is a non-issue (at least for me).
- The Sweet Revenge was my favorite from last year, the Agent Bow might be my frontrunner out of Rebelle 2014.
Nerf N-Strike Elite though, is Nerf's Flagship (at least in my estimation) line and the heavy hitters out of the gate are the Nerf Cam ECS-12 and the Nerf N-Strike Elite Demolisher 2 in 1.
The Nerf Cam ECS-12 is probably the most cost-prohibitive of the bunch. The MSRP is at $79.99, requires 8 AA batteries (flywheels + camera power), includes a 4 GB memory card, and is supposed to hit around 90-95'. A lot of Nerf players may already own GoPro cameras or have other arrangements by this point, so is that range bump enough to pour this much money into just one blaster? Especially given the camera is a 0.3 megapixels?
Nerf provided this video of the Cam(era), and it was honestly better than I expected.
But is it enough? We are still months from seeing a final form of this (in fact, all these blasters) so the jury is still out until the Fall release.
As for the Demolisher, the undermount alone is enough for me. Regrettably, it isn't removable but it's a step in that direction. It's just odd that Nerf didn't do this sooner considering an undermounted removable missile has been available for some time now from another brand. While some folks also hate it is a triggerless system on the Demolisher's mega missile launcher, I got a decent shot out of it, and the word says it will hit 50' about. The Demolisher itself will hit approx. 90'.
So, Rebelle gets a makeover and a sweet bow, Elite gets a 90' increase, that leaves Mega and Zombie Strike.
The Thunderbow is HUGE. About the size of my torso. And it will hit 100'. It primes like the Heartbreaker, actually. You pull back on the string, wait for the indicator to tell you you've pulled back enough (the arms pull back as well) and release, firing the Mega dart. You can do this up to 5 times before you are empty. Approximately 100' out of it. My only complaint at this stage is somebody trying to pull a Legolas may suffer wear and tear on their fingers, as right now there is nothing covering the string where your fingers go.As someone who's fired a lot of Zing arrows, I hope something gets put there before Fall, as the pull is pretty robust.
The Nerf Zombiestrike Slingfire? My favorite so far, simply because I can do this:
ICYMI, 3rd party tech made a huge splash at Toy Fair for Nerf this year -
Tek Strike is a 3rd party game/setup that promises hit tracking, and utilizes bluetooth connectivity and requires players to be more strategic as you need specialized Nerf darts to play. See my initial writeup HERE
Without giving too much away, these folks at Eyespy have a wonderful idea right now, and plenty more wonderful ideas to follow up. I'll be watching them closely, as I'm genuinely excited about seeing this product and on more than one occasion listening to their pitch I was left speechless. I do have a video that I need to edit as well, so expect that soon.
And Sakar international/Vivitar had a series of cameras, walkie talkies, and more licensed to the Nerf brand... some of which falls in with the Nerf Rebelle Secrets & Spies theme -
My press kit didn't have much in the way of pricing yet, but I'm in contact with Sakar at the moment trying to get some info. According to the rep I spoke with at Toy Fair, a few of these items (including the hands-free walkie talkies) were pretty new, so the info was lacking. I'll update this post as necessary! And when I have HQ videos.
Make sure to join the discussion at the F2A Facebook page and see more firing videos on my instagram feed.
In the meantime, BIG THANK YOU to TrekkieB47 for helping me out at Toy Fair as a second cameraman (and designing those sweet business cards), and to Adult Fans of Nerf, Click Click BAMF, Basic Nerf, and Shining Foam for getting the word out there!
I'm sure there's plenty I've left out, so make sure to leave a comment if there's something you're curious about.
ON THAT NOTE: No secret blaster. All the reveals had been done by this Toy Fair, so the Cam was probably the secret blaster at UK Toy Fair. No super secret sizzle video either like when the Hailfire was revealed. No new Nerf Dart Tag and now new Nerf N-Force (unless you want to count the Strikeblade, but that's under the Zombie Strike brand.) While not outright saying the lines were defunct, there just aren't any plans right now for either line, and that is indicated by the lack of new product for those lines as of New York Toy Fair.