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Nerf: The Ultimate Dream Job?


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#1 Viper

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 12:58 AM

I know a great deal of people on this site would give up their left testicle to have a shot at working for nerf or buzzbee but it seems that for the most part the people that OMC and Talio describe didn't even know what a crossbow was. I wonder what kind of products we'd see if we had people on this site were working at hasbro. Its one thing to have a marketing or bachelors in mechanical engineering, but quite another to have passion for making really unique toys and the skills required can be taught quite easily. I mean look at what many of us have accomplished with limited materials?

Lonnie Johnson's original supersoaker prototype was really far less intracite than boltsnipers F.A.R in complexity and overall coolness factor. I remember seeing where the oddworld developers used this stratgy instead of getting programmers with a higher salary that weren't nearly as passionate about their work. Could nerf do the same? One of my buds that now works at the local cigar box is retired from kenner toys as a salesman and says it was the best years of his life by far.
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#2 One Man Clan

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 01:18 AM

Are you kidding? Do you SEE what we are getting? Who else could come up with the nightfinder? I mean, how cool is that?

That aside, here's the thing everyone seems to forget. WE ARE NOT HASBRO's MAJOR TARGET. We are a small percentage if any to them when you look at the bigger picture. The fact that they do clue us in to what's going on is above and beyond what we should expect from a major corporation, especially when we are NOT using theit products for their intended purposes.

There cannot EVER be better performing blasters. I don't know how many times chiefthe of talio or myself have to explain this. There are legal and safety reasons why nerf can only do what they do. As far as designs and things go, do you have any idea how many blasters have been "thought up" but won't see the light of day for any number of reasons, or are in development? The team working on the Nerf brand are extremely talented and (I'm not trying to suck up here, but) they at least take whaty we want into consideration. I'm pretty sure the Nstrike unity system had its roots in
integrations done by us here in the community.

All I'm saying Viper is not to criticize what you clearly do not know. Everyone working on Nerf (and those we met on the Lazer Tag team) are EXTREMELY passionate about their brand and where they want to take it. It's a team like this that turns nerf from Maxforce 2012 into NStrike.
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#3 Dusty NB1

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 01:49 AM

I think it would have been cool to be a Nerf designer back in the early 90's when Nerf was getting HUGE.

Not to be to negative but I think they kind of whored out Nerf guns with a bunch of bad, or gimmicky, designs for the next ten years and killed of alot of their market share. Its like the guys with the "marketing or bachelors in mechanical engineering" forgot what the hell kids were using these things to do, primarily shoot each other. This is my first post here and I was just discussing this with a guy in my first post in NerfHQ, but you can really count the BEST Nerf gun designs on one hand, maybe a couple more than that. The rest of the lineup is filled with a plethora of badly designed, gimmicky, or pointless crap. For every Arrowstorm, Chainblazer, Crossbow, or Super MAXX 3000 theres a ton of guns like the Sneakshot, Perceptor, Whiptail Scorpion, Range Shot, Gator, Ripsaw, and the list goes on....

Even when they manufacture a gun with alot of promise, Nerf seems to fail to make common sense design improvements that any kid who nerfed with it in one war would see the need for. I love automatics, so I'll use the most obvious example the Wildfire. Anyone who used this in one good war would go, 'wow, I wish this thing had detachable clips to make it load faster, or a stronger, integrated pump handle like on the Super Maxx 3000, and better air efficiency'. Well, the Rapidfire 20 improves air efficiency but fails to adress the other obvious design flaws completely, then also take away one of the good things about the Wildfire, the sling...

When I think of the brainiac corporate guys who pitched designs like the 'PERCEPTOR', it makes me think of the movie 'Big' where all the adults are raving about how brilliant this idiotic 'sky-scraper robot' is, and then Tom Hank's character tells them how retarded it actually is to a kid who would actually play with it.

I definately think Nerf would have benefited from the design input and direction of actual nerfers, instead of guys with degrees. Ten years ago you could go in a Toys R Us and there would be a whole Nerf aisle filled with different guns an acessories, when I bought a couple of re-released Rapidfire 20's a week ago there TWO new guns and a handfull of bags of micro darts...I definately think they were taking design cues from the wrong guys. :( At least the Firefly looks like it has promise!
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#4 Viper

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 02:01 AM

I can't really argue with OMC, being as he has actually been at Nerf Headquarters. I know about the KED equations and even have an article on my site thats been there for about 5-6 months outlining their limitations. They seem to draw on from what we post on this site based on some of the design ideas that they produce, I can't remeer any directly at the moment though. We're like a diverse, free community of intelligent and practical beings that they can always draw upon.

On the marketing factor and how we're such a small demographic is right on, although besides the hardcore performance stuff I desire similiar things that a 6 or 8 year old boy would desire i.e full automatics, big guns that shoot big ballistas etc.


As far as nerf not being as big as it used to, again congress was caught playing with ballzookas while they were discussing budget deficits (Kenner Toys History) I think it has to do with the increased interest in videogames from all of nerf's major demographics, I think all "games" like low-margin frisbee's and other toys that you physically play with have taken a seat to videogames. You also have to take into effect the effect of increased competion since nerf was in the "Nerf Action" phase. I was really just being sinical but nerf has done far more than anyone could really ask of them.

Edited by Viper, 23 July 2005 - 02:11 AM.

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#5 Dusty NB1

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 02:27 AM

"That aside, here's the thing everyone seems to forget. WE ARE NOT HASBRO's MAJOR TARGET. We are a small percentage if any to them when you look at the bigger picture. The fact that they do clue us in to what's going on is above and beyond what we should expect from a major corporation, especially when we are NOT using theit products for their intended purposes."

True, I have to keep that in mind, but then again, like Viper said, "although besides the hardcore performance stuff I desire similiar things that a 6 or 8 year old boy would desire". I'm not even into modding and I dont expect my Rapidfire to puncture skin at 100ft, I just want new guns to function well and actually correct, or improve, obvious design flaws of previous markers effectively. I just used my Wildfire/ Rapidfire reference to illustrate my point, but theres alot of other guns you could also use as examples and thats sad when I think about how much extra potential MANY of their past designs had.

If the current Nerf team is as motivated and commited as you say they are OMC, maybe they can turn things around some. Their now facing more effective competitors like Buzzibee but maybe thats just what they need to put some more fight into them. :(
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#6 One Man Clan

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 02:49 AM

Buzzbee isn't even in the same LEAGUE as nerf. They do not have the uniform distribution that Nerf does. Seriously, do you ever even see nerf and buzzbee stuff together, except maybe in TRU? Buzz bee is lesser quality crap and their toys look like low cost garbage. Nerf toys are durable and are meant to last (as far as a plastic toy can).

The NStrike line (especailly the DVD) was a response to video games, market research, and several other things. What do kids shoot with Nerf guns? The first thing that came out of Talio and Myself's mouth on our first visit to Hasbro HQ was the TV (if not each other like we aren't supposed to). That echoed an overwhelming majority of market research data, so an interactivce DVD seemed naturally the next way to go.

Also, in the toy industry, there are things called play patterns. Those are essentially how a child or group of children interact and play with their toys. 15-20 years ago, kids could take a GI JOE out of the box and go outside and be entertained for HOURS (i know I was). The problem now is that kids are more advanced than they used to be (that's the short version) and need set "play patterns" to immerse themselves in the toys. The NStrike DVD puts them in a role similar to a videogame like Halo where they are a futuristic fighting soldier. That theme is supposed to carry over to how the kids play with the NStrike set and gives them a better path to follow. So that's a basic understanding of how the toy industry works. (This is what you get with a four year marketing degree kiddies).

Dusty, what the hell do you want them to turn around? We couldn't be getting anything better from the folks at Hasbro. Sure some of the last few blasters were a pain in the ass to mod, if at all possible, but seriously, who could come up with the maverick? or now the firefly? Not to mention, we get the BBB back, which is as close to xbow as we will ever see.

I cannot say this enough, there is no REAL competition for nerf. They are light years ahead of what Buzzbee or Lanard are doing. The maxshot is as close as the competition will come to producing something that will knock nerf from the top spot. Nerf is taking a PROACTIVE approach and making blasters that are both pleasing to our community as well as the grander consumer market. Rather than having the competition come in and challenge Nerf for the top spot in action blaster toys, Nerf is ever changing, growing with ideas of what we want and what they want to produce. The NF is the best selling nerf blaster of all time. How can you go wrong with that? That's something the team can be proud of. I really doubt anyone will touch Hasbro in the big kids toys category for a long time (nerf, lazer tag, super soaker)

Nerf as a brand is both extremely complex and so simple anyone could really see it. I guess more of you have to really get to know the folks over there to understand. I think it's also partly my business education, and I can see Hasbro from many different angles, including a fan who wants what he wants (just imagine what the folks working on star wars toys have to go through), as well as a marketing person who understands exactly what Nerf is facing and how they go about business, plaesing as many stakeholders as possible.

For the record, it's no secret it has been a major goal (dream sounds too corny) of mine for a decent amount of time to work for Hasbro, specificallyt on the Nerf and other big kids brands. I may never get the chance, but the least I can do is give you all the business perspective on the brand.

Edited by One Man Clan, 23 July 2005 - 02:55 AM.

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#7 Dusty NB1

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 03:16 AM

Well you set me straight, that was informative and eye-opening :( I knew kids had less attention spans than we probably did but I did'nt know their 'play patterns' were so different.

You should be a Nerf spokesman with post like that!
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#8 One Man Clan

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:08 AM

Seems like I am kinda unofficially. It's probably the reason I was asked BACK to Hasbro the second time. That and the fact that I'm one of the few members of this community who are over 18 and within a decent driving distance to their HQ.
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#9 Viper

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 08:47 AM

Cool, play patterns, eh? I want to look up more on this stuff. I remeber a quote from Kenner toys CEO that stated it was 40-60 weeks from idea to shipment of a toy.
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#10 rylundo

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 02:46 PM

viper if thats true just imagine what they have on the drawing board now. whooo.
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#11 MFRnync

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 06:48 AM

OMC, why were you asked to visit Nerf's HQ?
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#12 euphemism

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 08:19 PM

nerf's HQ> nerfHQ
but anyway, so the BBB is being re-released, nice, I had no idea it was one of the re-releases. Also, about the mav, I'm confused about the way everyone says the barrel advance system is so complex, it works in exactly the same way as a clicky pen. Now don't get me wrong, it was absolutely genius to use that in a nerf gun but it's not that complicated. Well I guess I should keep myself from getting that off topic but it's in my nature.
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#13 One Man Clan

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Posted 29 July 2005 - 09:14 PM

MFR, for various reasons. I am somewhat of a means of the people at Hasbro to communicate back and forth in person with the community. They wanted to show us what they had in store, and get our opinions on it. Basically act as an ambassador to the community. That's the short version.
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#14 WratH

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 04:27 PM

do you guys think there is any way to get NERF to actually put barrels on their guns so we wont have to do it? like i mean yeah, its nerf but whether your shooting a pumpkin or chunk of lead or marshmallow a barrel ALWAYS, ALWAYS improves accuracy, distance and performance. or would that... hmm lets say over-do it? i dont think it would. kids think things that hurt are cool. especially with something that doesnt look like it hurts.
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#15 Davis

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 04:45 PM

They can give a rat's ass about if kids want it to hurt, they just aren't legally allowed to let it.
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#16 The Infinite Shindig

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Posted 15 August 2005 - 05:10 PM

do you guys think there is any way to get NERF to actually put barrels on their guns so we wont have to do it? like i mean yeah, its nerf but whether your shooting a pumpkin or chunk of lead or marshmallow a barrel ALWAYS, ALWAYS improves accuracy, distance and performance. or would that... hmm lets say over-do it? i dont think it would. kids think things that hurt are cool. especially with something that doesnt look like it hurts.


You sir, are an idiot. There is no question in my mind. Has the word liable ever so even crossed your mind? In fact, I am going to assume that it hasn't and define it for you.

liable - Legally obligated; responsible; answerable according to law : bound or obligated according to law or equity.

Hasbro is liable or legally responsible for injuries that occur as a result of children or adults using its products. Why on earth do you think Nerf guns come with warning labels explicity stating not to modify guns or ammo? They want to legally wipe their hands clean of any lawsuits that may happen as a result of our community's existance. Furthermore, Hasbro puts out guns to a certain power standard. By that I mean, they have limitations on the amount of range and exit velocity their guns can have. Why do you think there are air restrictors on Nerf guns?

I'm just going to pretend no one could have possibly suggested that a good business strategy would be putting out toys that injure. No one could be that stupid, not in an age where we have lawyers chasing ambulances. I really can't fathom anyone ever suggesting something like that. Sure kids might think it's funny or cool to own things that inflict pain, but it's their parents that sue. That's a genius strategy my lad; if you ever open a toy business, please inform me so I can insure that I own no stocks or mutual funds that are connected to it in any way.

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