Your child could inspire the next great Hasbro product.
If you have a family with children, and you are visiting or live in the vicinity of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hasbro’s “FunLab” is a diversion you might want to consider adding to your schedule. FunLab is located at Hasbro’s Corporate Headquarters, and is described as “Hasbro’s Toy and Gaming Testing Program.” It’s open to families with children of any age, and it just might be the most awesome “focus group” in the world.
Essentially, FunLab is where kids are put together with Hasbro’s play experts to test out new toy and game concepts. Parents sign non-disclosure agreements and kids are given toys to try out and interact with. There’s some structure to the sessions, but the basic idea is that Hasbro is just trying to find out if a toy is fun to play with, and to see what kind of play patterns might emerge from these sessions. It’s all very hush-hush, since the toys being handled are usually prototypes being considered for production for in anywhere from 1 to 3 years (if they are produced, at all).
Recently, Hasbro has been grabbing headlines with their rebranding of the Combat Creatures Attacknid. And while we enjoyed our brief experience with the Attacknid, we found the announced $80 price point a bit steep. So, we couldn’t help but wonder… with the VMD Cannon Commando now available for $39.99, could this be a better option to get our remote controlled blasting fix?
It was only 4 weeks ago that we had our first hands-on time with the VMD Cannon Commando at the NYC Toy Fair. We came away impressed with the enthusiasm Skyrocket Toys had for their line of remotely controlled vehicles (and all their products, really), and looked forward to putting their Cannon Commando through our battery of tests. Now, thanks to our new friends at Skyrocket, we’ve been able to do just that—and the VMD didn’t fail to deliver.
Here at the Blaster Labs offices, we have a little game we play called “cup.” It’s a completely juvenile form of entertainment that is NOT approved by any toy manufacturers, the FDA, Michelle Obama, your mother, or anyone else. It involves a foam dart or disc blaster of your choice, a single plastic cup, and one pair of optional safety glasses. We’re not going to tell you how it’s played, because we don’t want a lawsuit. But suffice it to say, you don’t want to be the one to have to wear the glasses.
We share this brief departure into “not-entirely-safe things to do with foam blasters” for a reason. And that reason is to introduce you to the Buzz Bee Range Master, our new king of the “cup” game—a contest where accuracy is everything.
Although generally seen as impractical outside of movies and video games, the ability to “dual wield” (use two weapons at once) has nonetheless been a much sought-after capability rarely found in foam-based blasters outside of complicated and noisy battery-powered models. In fact, the only other non-battery powered, single-handed blaster in the entire Nerf arsenal to-date is the Toys “R” Us exclusive Snapfire 8.
It was with no small amount of anticipation then that the Nerf Zombie Strike Hammershot (and its re-shelled twin, the Rebelle Sweet Revenge) came to market in August of 2013. And, like many reviewers before us, we’re pleased to confirm the Hammershot meets or exceeds those expectations for a one-handed wonder. It would be notable even if the Hammershot’s single point of distinction was it’s ability to be primed and fired one-handed. But fortunately, it’s a very well-rounded blaster in other regards, as well.
We covered everything in foam, water and IR blasting that Toy Fair NYC had to offer—and we’re just getting started!
It’s now been two weeks since the Blaster Labs team blitzed the American International Toy Fair on February 16, 2014 in New York City. We thought it an appropriate time, then, to take a look back at a few of the highlights from the show, and to thank a few of the people that made it so memorable (including a special bonus for fans of Nerf and Blaster Labs!).
If you’re just joining us, or perhaps didn’t catch everything we posted, here’s a quick highlight of some of our most memorable experiences:
- World’s first hands-on time with new Tek Recon Predator.
- First detailed images of all-new Rebelle product line.
- A glimpse of the Demolisher with a 25-round drum.
- An unexpected laser tag system from Think Geek.
- Incredible 300-foot distance claim from a $15 wrist-rocket by Zing.
- Wicked reloading demonstrations for the new Zombie Strike Slingfire.
- First close-up video of new Nerf-branded Combat Creatures Attacknid.
- A surprisingly engaging hands-on experience with the Thunderbow.
- VMD’s Cannon Commando outgunning the Attacknid.
One of our most memorable visits at the American International Toy Fair was with the folks from Tech 4 Kids, where we got some brief hands-on time with the all-new Tek Recon Predator—the most aspirational blaster in the Tek Recon line-up, with a claimed range “exceeding 100 feet” and a maximum ammo capacity of 100 rounds. Interest in this new blaster has been strong, so with the generous support of Tek Recon’s PR folks, we’re pleased to now be able to provide some additional details about the Predator, along with a closer look at what makes it so unique.
First, the news: the Predator will ship with a fully packed, 100 round magazine standard for $49.99. These will be the current, standard-velocity NRG rounds, though the Predator is capable of firing any type of NRG round, including the new shorter and longer range types. We are also pleased to confirm that, according to Tech 4 Kids, the Predator will hit the claimed 100’ ranges on the max distance setting using the original NRG rounds.
It’s actually a lot cooler than it looks.
We’re not going to lie. When Hasbro first announced the Nerf Mega Thunderbow, we thought the Mega brand had already jumped the shark. For starters, the proportions of the Thunderbow just looked goofy. And to some degree, it felt like Hasbro was just blatantly trying to ride the wave of culturally-inspired bow-like products that are currently hitting the market, rather than giving Nerf Nation what it really wanted—a flagship Mega product that didn’t embarrass itself like the Centurion.
We still feel the same way. However, after having spent some hands-on time with the Mega Thunderbow at the American International Toy Fair in the off-site Hasbro exhibit, we came away with a newfound respect for the Mega line’s first bow-based product. The progressive pull back system gives the toy a very tactile quality, which is paid-off by being able to fire the huge, whistling Mega darts up to a claimed 100 feet (the first time this kind of range has been claimed by any Nerf product apart from the Centurion).