Hey look! Someone in the industry sent a free thing! Info, in this case.
Now that the spring toys are appearing, we’re also seeing the various press releases! This time, it’s information from Prime Time Toys, the people behind Dart Zone, as well as various other branded dart and water blasters. Thanks for sending me the tidbits! It’s better than haphazardly gathering info from retailers.
The Rival Overwatch series has to juggle being both a prop (for game fans and cosplay) and a functional Nerf blaster. Sometimes, the balance works, with items like the D.Va Blaster being both close to the in-game model and decently good for battle. Other times, it just doesn’t work as well. The Soldier 76 blaster falls under the latter category. It’s a great looking prop, but performance is severely hampered, and the blaster is simply uncomfortable to use. It may be a great prop, but it’s not a great blaster. Such is the problem you sometimes encounter translating video game models to real life.
It’s right after Christmas, and as things get clearanced out, the spring products start popping up, including soakers. As was the case last year, Walmart is being quick to put out its in-house brands first. As such, we now have some new things to look at (and review once they arrive).
When last I saw Bunkr Battle Zones, it was in the back of the exhibit hall at Toy Fair 2019. Since then, I’ve seen the various products on shelves, from inflatable wooden crates to competition sets (red v blue). Admittedly, I’ve never had the need to buy the products due to where I play (areas with plenty of cover) or game types with less of a need (many Humans v Zombies games).
However, an interesting development appeared online today – officially Licensed Nerf Bunkr gear now exists! Granted, the article is from a UK-focused toy magazine, and thus concentrates on a UK distribution deal. Even so, it’s interesting to see licensing Nerf get licensed to an existing product, especially when something similar from Jazwares was supposed to have appeared last year (at a far higher price). It is, of course, child-sized. But aren’t most toys?
If we’re lucky, Bunkr will be at Toy Fair again this year, and we’ll be able to hear more. In the meantime, be sure to read the Toy News Magazine article!
Before we get back to reviewing the latest Nerf blasters, we’ll highlight something that’s been chugging along to spectacular success in the mainstream: the Xshot Fast Fill line. I reviewed the first blaster last year, finding it to be a good entry for the current market of soakers. And it’s done well, seeing as it’s a Toy of the Year Finalist. Coming into this year, we’re seeing at least two more offerings – one small, and one quite a bit larger.
Hasbro likes to do specialty line releases with various retailers – Gamestop has first dibs on the Overwatch blasters, Walmart gets Battlecamo, etc. In Target’s case, one of those specialty lines is the Icon Series, a line of previously popular blasters that have been rereleased and (supposedly) updated for the modern blaster era. Leading the pack is the Stampede, Nerf’s big clip-fed automatic blaster from 2010. While it does seem to have better performance, it also comes with less, and costs more than the original. If you’re a collector (or feeling nostalgic), you’ll still love the blaster, especially on sale. If you purely want modern performance for a good price, however, you may end up looking elsewhere.
It’s not much of a post – really, it’s just a placeholder while I write some rather late reviews and edit footage from the last war. But, it’s New Year’s Eve, and that means thinking back…and thinking ahead.
With that in mind, I do have a few thoughts on things to improve.
- Earlier in the year, I tried highlighting a bunch of major events going on one month. The intention was to keep doing that…but then it never happened. I’d like to try that again. Whether it’s a monthly post, or just keeping better tabs on major events, both near me and farther away (there are things like Foam Fest and large wars in other countries I’d like to look at).
- Adding a couple more people on here. Granted, I’m the weird one here that’s made his hobby his social life, and that helps drive me to keep doing this. But there are plenty of other enthusiasts that I know would contribute now and then.
- Stop getting so behind on reviews! I still have yet to post reviews for the Icon Series, for instance. Granted, it hasn’t been an urgent thing, because I bought all of them way back when they were first on shelves. It’s simply not “new” compared to other things, and a quick search on ye olde Nerfhaven can do wonders. But this late? I can do better.
- Document more of the cool things people are doing. Whether it’s a war, or Foamcon before Endwar, do more pics of blasters, loadouts, etc. I know several people miss seeing that. Plus, while trying having a booth at Ragnaroctoberfest was neat, it’s just not the same as walking around and seeing everyone. I prefer doing the news part to being a personality.
All that said, what are you hoping for in the new year?