Born in 1984 as the Star Trek Electronic Phasers, laser tag has always been a great halfway point between games and reality, letting kids and adults go toe-to-toe over the din of electronic blaster noise while still in their living rooms. Nintendo's NES Blaster, the beam-based controller for the game "Duck Hunt," was released the same year, but this was "Duck Hunt" where the ducks fired back. After that, it was often relegated to one-off games in arenas built by businesses, whether Dave & Buster's or a company specializing in the sport.
It's a disc gun, not a dart gun--and that's just part of how it manages to shoot a whopping 65 feet
By Bryan GardinerPosted 04.11.2012 at 11:31 am 0 Comments
Since Nerf introduced its first dart gun, the Sharpshooter, two decades ago, the company's engineers have struggled to find ways to significantly advance their toys' range beyond the original 35 feet. They repeatedly refined the firing mechanism and even added motors, but even their best improvements only added about 10 feet. Last year, they redesigned both the launch mechanism and the ammo (discs, not darts). The range of the resulting Vortex line and its newest glow-in-the-dark edition, the Lumitron: 65 feet.
As one commenter for last year's annual Toy Fair wrap-up pointed out, there was once a time when Lincoln Logs were considered a cutting-edge toy. It was never so clear as it is now, though, that the heyday of the analog toy has long-since passed. 2012 shall be the year of the app-enabled toy.
What would the creators of some of the most beloved and widespread American toys make, if given a completely blank slate? We asked the driving forces behind toys like K'Nex, LEGO, Tickle Me Elmo, and Nerf to really explore their craziest impulses--and man, did they come up with some craziness.
Say the word "toy" to a techie, and his mind will think one thing: robots. But all infrared-loving, artificially-intelligent smart-toy-ogling tech-savvy aside, new toys can instill as much "ooh! shiny!" as even the hottest cellphone. And we're not just talking about robots: This week, the International Toy Fair hit NYC, and PopSci.com found 20 funky new toys with a few tricks up their sleeves.