Sunday, April 28, 2024

[YouTube] Nerf Blast-A-Ball Game

Although typically written as Nerf, NeRF is actually an acronym that is short for "Non-Expanding Recreational Foam." It was invented by Reyn Guyer of Minnesota who pitched it to Parker Brothers as an indoor American football game. Parker Brothers purchased it but skipped the whole game part, initially only making a soft round ball. The basic ball released in 1969, a basketball hoop (Nerfoop) and foam football hit stores in 1972, and a baseball game in 1983. Through most of the '80s, Nerf was primarily a sports toy line that also included table tennis and indoor golf sets.

While Nerf calls it a game, Blast-A-Ball, which released in 1989, is basically a gun-like toy that launches a single ball at a time. Most likely any kids that owned this and had a brother or sister, used the ball launchers in sibling warfare. The instructions do reference shooting others in a game of tag, or using the blasters for target practice, golf, or a game of "Blast-Against-the-Wall." Included in the box are the instruction sheet, two multi-colored blasters, and four yellow balls. When firing a ball there is a loud "pop" sound and it does launch with a decent amount of force, traveling as far as 30 feet according to the box.

Hasbro acquired Parker Brothers in 1991 and while it does still manufacture Nerf sports products today, it produces more weapons in the Nerf line than anything else. My Blast-A-Ball box has a big mark on the front that I believe is from a shipping label.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Year 8: April Update

March was a busy month for the blog as I posted six times! That's the most I've posted in a single month since June 2021. Four of those posts are about the X-Men, however, I don't have a subscription to Disney+ so I've not been able to see the new X-Men '97 cartoon which was the reason for posting about Marvel's mutants last month. At least it sounds like it's a great continuation of the original animated series. This month has been slow as I've just not been able to get myself into a routine this year but I should have something to post tomorrow and then I'll try to post for Star Wars Day, even if it's just a single image of something. I did finally launch a new YouTube channel (VHStatic) for hosting all the commercials I previously had on Vault 1541's channel, plus many other commercials. In my last blog update I mentioned I'd planned to use a Kermit toy in the header image but then I didn't like it and stuck ET in there. Tt might be better off with no characters, I just though ET gave it a good '80s vibe. 

Since the last update there has been a fair amount of toy related news. While I completely missed that McFarlane Toys released a new series of action figures based on Batman: The Animated Series earlier this year, it has now announced a second wave. Each of the wave two figures includes a piece of the character Lock-Up so that if you buy Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Joker, and Riddler, and open them, you can build a fifth action figure.

Hasbro recently announced a licensing deal with Playmates Toys to create a new line of Power Rangers toys in 2025. Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), which is owned by Hasbro, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. There will be a variety of new D&D products, including clothing from Converse, a Pop Tarts tie-in, and an already released LEGO set. The Dungeons & Dragons: Red Dragon's Tale set ($359.99) features a castle, red dragon (of course!), owl bear, gelatinous cube, beholder, displacer beast, and six mini-figures. To celebrate Star Wars Day, LEGO is releasing a TIE Interceptor set ($229.99) on May 4th.

There has been a fair amount of Transformers movie news of late as well. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original cartoon, the first four episodes of the show will be in select theaters May 15, 18, and 19. A behind-the-scenes table reading will be shown on a split-screen alongside the first episode. Paramount announced that a Transformers/G.I. Joe crossover movie is in development with Steven Spielberg attached to the project as an executive producer. Lastly, the animated Transformers One film, hitting theaters on September 20, 2024, now has a trailer. I'm not entirely sure what to think as the trailer has a lot of humor, or attempts at it at least.

Speaking of humor, Comedy Central announced that it is developing an animated series based on one of my favorite video games: Golden Axe. I'm not sure why the network or Sega chose to turn that property into a comedy as Sega has some silly stuff whereas Golden Axe has a mostly serious tone to it. Ubisoft announced Star Wars Outlaws has a release date of August 30, 2024 and THQ Nordic will be publishing an updated version of Epic Mickey with physical editions coming to PlayStation 5 and Switch, likely in quarter four of this year. Outright Games, makers of numerous family-friendly games, will be publishing more titles this year based on Gigantosaurus, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Thanks for visiting,

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Behind the Screens: Taito (Electronic Gaming Monthly #19 - February 1991)

This is a four-page article that appeared in the pages of Electronic Gaming Monthly's (EGM) 19th issue published in February 1991. Although the header at the start of the article says "EGM Visits - Taito of America," most of the story is about Taito's business in Japan and its smart decisions throughout the '80s. One thing EGM appears to have wrong is the release year for Space Invaders. EGM states that it was released in 1979 and I believe it is referencing the Japanese release, but all sources, including Taito's corporate history page, have Space Invaders releasing in 1978.

This is the third Taito post on the blog with the first being the ads post (Taito of America) and the second being scans from a 1989 issue of Commodore Magazine about Taito's arcade to Commodore 64 ports. I should point out that the Facebook links on all the ads posts are broken because of a change Facebook must have made, sorry about that. The Google Photos links work and you can find the correct Facebook links under the "Game Ad Links" tab.