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Nerf (trademarked as NERF) is a very successful toyline produced by Hasbro. Nerf toys are made of a hard plastic for guns (referred to as "Blasters" by Nerf), a foamy substance (for Ballistic Balls and Sports toys) and a rubbery casting on the outside of the bullets. The term "NERF" stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam. This is because when Nerf originally came out, they made foam balls and toys similar to that, so at the time no guns had been produced. There have been many outdoor products (Nerf Sports), but is most famous for its blasters, originating from the 1990's. Now, the franchise has its own video game, and has been seen in many shows, like the Simpsons, Ned's Declassified: School Survival Guide, and more. The guns are always eye-appealing and colorful to attract customers. The current slogan since the 1980's is "It's Nerf or Nothing".
Nerf started when Reyn Guyer came up with the revolutionary playset that included a volleyball net and ball all for indoors. He then brought his idea to Parker Brothers, famous for their board games, who after watching him demonstrate the game decided not to use the net and everything else but the ball. In Spring 1969, the first Nerf product, the Nerf Indoor Ball, was released.
Instantly, the device was a hit, and by 1972 it had sold over 4 million units. The first update came in 1970 when the original format was updated and released as the Super Nerf Indoor Ball. While not as successful as the original, it still gave the consumers the option of more to buy. The next product, the Nerfoop, was released in 1972. It quickly became successful, spawning the Football. The Nerf Football became the most popular item of the line-up.
Parker Brothers took good care of the company, and continued to add products to the line-up until 1989 when the company was given to Kenner Products, who sold it to Hasbro along with Tonka. Hasbro, who saw opportunities decided to scrap having sports objects as the main priority and to start selling toy guns (or as they refer it to as "Blasters"). The gun idea was a huge success, and are still being sold today. Nerf Sports is still around, but is no longer as popular as it was in the seventies and eighties.
The foam that is used to make most Nerf products is made from a solid, spongy cellular material produced by the reaction of polyester with a diisocyanate while carbon dioxide is liberated by the reaction of a carboxyl with the isocyanate. Polyester resin reacts with a compound while CO2 is simultaneously released by another reaction. It is this gas that creates open pockets within the polyurethane that, in turn, makes the material soft and light.
Nerf has a wide range of foam balls that are molded to look like various sports balls, such as the football (Football, Weather Blitz Football, Vortex Football), the basketball (Nerfhoop), and the baseball set (Curve Pitch Baseball Set). They are designed with different color schemes and features, and are less likely to cause damage since they are made from Nerf material.
The company also makes Nerf Blasters, which are toy guns used to shoot ammunition made of the Nerf material in ball, arrow and dart form. Various forms of dart ammunition are available, including a variety tipped with Velcro that can stick to Nerf vests, and another tipped with suction cups designed to stick to smooth surfaces, there is a streamline dart which is used in many of nerf blasters, and there is a whistler dart that whistles while flying and is easy to throw at other players. Nerf is the most popular foam dart blaster brand.
Another major unique point is the N-Force brand of medieval weapons such as swords, axes and shields brought together in standard Nerf material. These have become very popular lately, and can be found in a variety of stores.
Nerf has also produced video game accessories for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo DS Lite and the Nintendo Wii. Hasbro released a few Nerf video games, called Nerf N-Strike and Nerf N-Strike Elite.
Recently Hasbro has released a line of Nerf-branded Super Soakers, water guns in the same format as the Nerf guns. These have a relatively large line-up, and have become immensely popular.
- "The World's First Indoor Ball" (1969-1972)
- "Way Ahead of the Game" (1972-1976)
- "There's only one Nerf" (1977-1989)
- "Get Real, Get Nerf" (1989-1991)
- "It's Nerf or Nothin" (1992-2001)
- "Play your game" (2002-2003)
- "It's Nerf or Nothin'" (2004-present)