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Nerf (trademarked in capitals as NERF) is a toy brand created by Parker Brothers and currently owned by Hasbro. Most of the toys are a variety of foam-based weaponry, with other Nerf products including balls for sports like American football, basketball and baseball. The most notable of the toys are the dart guns (referred to by Hasbro as "blasters") that shoot ammunition made from Nerf foam. Since many such items were released during the 1970s, Nerf products often feature bright neon colors and soft textures similar to the flagship Nerf ball. The slogan, which has been frequently used since advertising in the 1990s, is "It's Nerf or Nothin'!". Annual revenues under the Nerf brand are approximately US$400 million.[1]

Nerf logo.svg
TypeToy weapons, foam balls
CountryUnited States
MaterialsFoam, plastic, rubber
  • "There's only one Nerf." (classic)
  • "Get Real. Get Nerf." (classic 2)
  • "Play Your Game." (2003)
  • "It's Nerf or Nothin'!" (current)
  • "Accept No Substitutes" (current 2)
  • "Enlist, Engage, Enforce" (N-Strike)
  • "Bend the rules of Battle" (Vortex)
  • "The Wetter the Better" (Super Soaker)
  • "Light It Up!" (Light It Up)
Official website


Original Nerf (styled NeRF) logo (1969–1990)

Parker Brothers originally developed Nerf, beginning with a 4 in (100 mm) polyurethane foam ball. In 1969, Reyn Guyer, a Minnesota-based games inventor, came to the company with a football game that was safe for indoor play, and after studying it carefully, Parker Brothers decided to eliminate everything but the foam ball. In 1970, the Nerf ball was introduced as the "world's first official indoor ball", the name "Nerf" being a slang term for the foam padding used in off-road racing.[2] Marketing slogans promised that one can "Throw it indoors; you can't damage lamps or break windows. You can't hurt babies or old people."[3] Some of the first TV commercials for the balls were joint promotions with General Foods' Kool-Aid drink mix, with Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Michael Nesmith of the Monkees playing with the balls on a living room soundstage (Kool-Aid sponsored the 1969-70 Saturday morning reruns of the Monkees' 1966-67 TV series). The ball filled a strong consumer need and by the year's end, more than four million Nerf balls had been sold.[4] The four-inch (102 mm) ball was followed by a large version called the "Super Nerf Ball". Shortly after, in 1972, a basketball game called "Nerfoop" and the Nerf football (developed by longtime NFL kicker Fred Cox[5][6]) joined the family, with the latter quickly becoming Nerf's most popular ball.[7]

The company continued to add to the Nerf line until they handed control to Kenner Products, a sister company, in 1991,[8] when Hasbro acquired the Nerf line through the acquisition of the Tonka Corporation.[9] Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Nerf brand served under the subsidiaries OddzOn and Larami before Hasbro took full control of the brand.[10]

Over the years, Nerf has continued to expand the line, adding new looks to existing products, with later lines of Nerf products ranging from sport balls and foam dart blasters to video games and accessories.[11]

In February 2013, Hasbro announced the release of "Nerf Rebelle", a sub-line aimed at girls. The first product, the Heartbreaker bow, was released in Fall 2013.[12] In November 2013, POW! Books published The Ultimate Nerf Blaster Book. Written by Nathaniel Marunas, the book highlights the history of Nerf and provides details on every N-Strike, Dart Tag, and Vortex blaster produced at the time of the book's release.[13][14]

In 2015, the Rival line of blasters was first released. The first product released was the Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700. These blasters fired Nerf's new ammunition, their "Rival High Impact Rounds." These are small foam balls that can reach a higher velocity than foam darts. The Rival blasters are targeted towards an older audience, with the age listed as 14+ on the box.[citation needed]


Nerf SportsEdit

The Nerf Sports (or N-Sports) line is a wide range of foam balls that resemble real sports balls. They are designed with different color schemes and features, with some of their footballs featuring color schemes and logos of the NFL. In addition, the tail-fins characteristic of Nerf Sports' Vortex sub-line (not to be confused with the blaster sub-line of the same name) cause the foam footballs of which it is comprised to resemble torpedoes and the American Ketchum grenade allowing it to fly greater distances.[15]

Nerf BlastersEdit

Nerf's most popular products are Nerf Blasters,[16] which are toy plastic guns that shoot foam darts, which are, among other things: Velcro-tipped in order to stick to Nerf vests, tipped with suction cups designed to stick to smooth surfaces, streamlined to fit in magazines, some able to whistle in flight, or a color variation, such as camouflage, color swap, and glow in the dark. Most Nerf blasters have tactical rails that accommodate different attachments, but there are also some that attach through special adapters like barrel extensions and stocks. The main sub-line of Nerf blasters is N-Strike Elite, which was first launched in 2004 as “N-Strike” with a yellow color scheme and updated in 2012 as its current name, upgraded ranges, and a blue, orange and white color scheme.[17]

Nerf Elite darts


In September 2011, Hasbro introduced a third sub-line of Nerf blasters called Nerf Vortex. The line's blasters fire small green, bright orange or white glow-in-the-dark discs made of soft plastic covered in foam. Nerf re-released the series in May 2018, with the same projectiles in green and blue to match the new color schemes of the updated vigilon, praxis, and pyragon. The Vortex blasters have a firing range up to 60 feet.[18]

Zombie StrikeEdit

In 2013, Hasbro unveiled a new Nerf blaster line: Zombie Strike. Zombie Strike is geared for fans of Humans vs. Zombies games.[19]


The Nerf Modulus blaster line includes a number of accessories and accessory kits. The blasters are typically white, grey and green.


Rebelle was aimed at the female demographic, sporting pink, purple and teal colors.[20]


In 2017, Hasbro released the Nerf Nitro line, which consists of Blasters that fire foam cars into obstacles and stunt ramps.[21]


Nerf Rival blasters fire small foam balls referred to by Nerf as "High Impact Rounds", but usually referred to as “Rival Balls” by the nerfing community. Nerf Rival blasters are targeted towards an older target market than Nerf's better known dart blasters. Nerf Rival blasters come in three colors, white, red, and blue, and are engineered to fire further and more precisely than blasters featured in other Nerf lines. Within this series is a subseries called "Phantom Corps", which was first released in spring 2017. In Phantom Corps, the series has its own Nerf blasters, but also sports white reshells of some of the original red and blue blasters, which are altered slightly but are still recognizable as the originals. The Phantom Corps subline includes removable colored banners with the blasters so that the user can switch teams without having to buy a new blaster. A new series in 2019 will be the Nerf Rival Edge series, featuring a seemingly greater emphasis on the “bolt-action sniper” aesthetic and demographic.

Alpha StrikeEdit

Introduced in August 2019, Nerf Alpha Strike is a blaster line priced lower than the N-Strike Elite line.[22]


Released in September 2019, Nerf Ultra blasters fire a new, propriety dart design that is marketed as "THE FARTHEST FLYING DART. EVER. UP TO 120 FT."[23] The new Ultra darts are constructed from a lightweight foam that is notably different than traditional darts in that they are made with closed cell, rather than open cell foam. This construction allows for fins to be molded into the rear of the darts. Size-wise, Ultra darts are between N-Strike Elite darts and Mega darts in diameter, but shorter than both in length. They cannot be fired from any previous Nerf line or off-brand compatible blasters, nor can any other lines' darts be fired from Ultra blasters. This design was created in response to the growing number of third-party darts, including exact knockoffs from China, available for N-Strike Elite blasters at a much lower cost than Nerf-brand darts.[24]

The first blaster in the Ultra line was the Nerf Ultra One, a relatively-compact, drum-fed (25-dart capacity), flywheel design with integral (non-detachable) stock and fixed muzzle that is not compatible with N-Strike barrel attachments. It does have several N-Strike rails, so it is compatible with those accessories. The blaster is painted in a striking white, black and orange color scheme with a distinctive raised gold "ULTRA" label on the right side (the raised logo is repeated on the left side, but in white, rather than gold.)

Nerf N-ForceEdit

The N-Force line consisted of foam swords and melee weapons. The swords fit into the back sheath of the Nerf N-Strike tactical vest and the Nerf N-Strike bandolier kit.[25]

In 2011, Hasbro released special edition N-Force weapons to promote the Marvel Comics/Paramount Pictures film Thor. This line consists of Thor's Hammer,[26] Thor's Sword and Odin's Sword. The Armor of Asgard Thor Battle Hammer was re-released alongside a new, electronic version called Thor Thunder Clash Hammer for The Avengers film in 2012.

In 2013, Hasbro released the Snake Eyes Blade of Justice for the film G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[27]

Super SoakerEdit

Originally owned and marketed by Larami, Super Soaker is a popular line of water guns. Recently, Hasbro has released a line of Nerf-branded Super Soaker blasters.[28]

Lazer TagEdit

Lazer Tag, a popular laser tag toy line from the mid-1980s, is also currently part of the Nerf banner.[29] The current generation of Lazer Tag blasters attach to iPhones or iPod Touch units for enhanced playability.[30]

Nerf DogEdit

In June 2013, Hasbro and Grammercy Products unveiled Nerf Dog, a line of Nerf-inspired canine retrieving toys made of rubber, nylon and plastic. Nerf Dog was launched at Walmart stores, and debuted at pet specialty stores in Fall 2013.[31][32]

Based in Secaucus, N.J., Gramercy Products, Inc. is the manufacturer of Nerf Dog products.[33]

The Nerf Dog toy line launch included a long distance ball thrower that can propel a toy up to 250 feet and will feature extra tough Nylon construction and stitching that is three times as strong as traditional dog toys. The entire range will include toys made of rubber, nylon and Thermo Plastic Rubber (TPR) ranging from $5 to $15.[34]

The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster mimics traditional Nerf gun designs and shoots a ball up to 50 feet in the air. The toy uses special softer balls to reduce the risk of injury.[35]

Video gamesEdit

Nerf has also produced video game accessories for the PlayStation 2, Nintendo DSi, DS Lite, 3DS and the Wii.[36] Visionary Media, Inc. released the first-person shooter Nerf Arena Blast (or NAB, sometimes Arena Blast) in 1999. EA Games, in association with Hasbro, released the 2008 video game Nerf N-Strike[37] and its 2009 sequel Nerf N-Strike Elite. Both games feature the Switch Shot EX-3, which doubles as a functional dart blaster and a Wii Remote accessory.[38] In June 2019, Raw Thrills released Nerf Arcade redemption game.[39]


In 2011, the Nerf N-Strike Stampede ECS was awarded "Boy Toy of the Year" and the Nerf Super Soaker Shot Blast won "Outdoor Toy of the Year" at the 11th Annual Toy of the Year Awards, which is held at the American International Toy Fair in New York City.[40]

In 2014, the Nerf Zombie Strike Crossfire Bow won the award for "Best Action Toy" at the 2014 U.K. Toy Fair.[41]

Legal issuesEdit

In June 2010, Hasbro sued Buzz Bee Toys and Lanard Toys for patent violation of its Nerf and Super Soaker brands. The lawsuit stated that Buzz Bee and Lanard infringed two U.S. patents for the Nerf N-Strike Disc Shot blaster, while Buzz Bee infringed on a Super Soaker patent.[42] In November of that year, Hasbro won its patent case against Buzz Bee with the latter banned from producing certain water guns.[43]

In April 2012, Hasbro contacted the Australia-based fan blog "Urban Taggers" for leaking information on unreleased Nerf products found on the Chinese marketplace website Taobao.[44] Hasbro allegedly tricked one of the bloggers into disclosing his home address for their lawyers to mail him a cease and desist letter. The incident resulted in fans setting up a campaign on Facebook boycotting Hasbro.[45]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rodriguez, Ashley (5 December 2015). "All of the reasons Nerf is back on top this holiday season" (Quartz (publication)). Retrieved 5 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Nerf 1968". Reyn Guyer Creative Group. Retrieved January 6, 2013. Parker Brothers decided to name the balls NERF after the foam padding that off-the-road enthusiasts wrapped around their roll-bars.
  3. ^ "Nerf Gun Reviews". Nerfz. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  4. ^ "The History of Toys". 2008-01-04. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  5. ^ "Ex-Vikings kicker Fred Cox, inventor of Nerf football, dies at 80". November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  6. ^ Smyde, Joe (October 4, 1989). "Fred Cox not kicking; Nerf football sales keeping him for life". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Who Needs an Indoor Ball? YOU Do, Apparently". GIZMODO. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  8. ^ "The story of Parker Brothers". Archived from the original on October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  9. ^ "The history of Hasbro, Inc" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  10. ^ "NC News - Larami Takes the Helm". Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  11. ^ "NERF - Welcome to Hasbro's Official NERF site". Hasbro. 2008-07-15. Archived from the original on 2008-11-13. Retrieved 2009-11-07.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  12. ^ Busis, Hillary (2013-02-08). "Hasbro introduces Nerf Rebelle line for girls, starting with the Heartbreaker bow -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-02-10.
  13. ^ "NERF: The Ultimate Blaster Book". powerHouse Books. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  14. ^ Mixson, Colin (2013-12-02). "Master blaster: Prospect Heights dad wrote the book on Nerf". The Brooklyn Paper. Retrieved 2014-01-03.
  15. ^ "Nerf Sports". Hasbro. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  16. ^ Pinkerton, Lindsey (2009-04-03). "The Top 10 Nerf Guns of All Time". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  17. ^ "NERF - All Products". Hasbro. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  18. ^ "Nerf Vortex Lumitron Blaster". Hasbro. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  19. ^ Bricken, Rob (2013-07-11). "Prepare for a Nerf apocalypse with the new Zombie Strike line!". Io9. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  20. ^ Greenwald, Will (2013-06-28). "Nerf Tips iPhone Scope, Rebelle Line For Girls, Lots More Guns Mainly bows and used for sending messages". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  21. ^ Robertson, Andy (2017-01-27). "'Nerf Nitro' Shoots Cars Not Darts". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  22. ^ Guynes, Jared (July 2, 2019). "Global Reveal - Nerf Alphastrike 2019 - All Blasters tested & variations shown!". YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "Nerf Ultra One Blaster". Hasbro. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  24. ^ "Parents, Beware: Nerf's Newest Blasters Won't Fire Knockoff Darts". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  25. ^ "Nerf N-Force". Hasbro. Archived from the original on February 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  26. ^ "Armor of Asgard Thor Hammer by Hasbro". Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  27. ^ "G.I. Joe: Retaliation Nerf Snake Eyes Blade of Justice". Time to Play. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  28. ^ "Nerf - Super Soaker". Hasbro. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  29. ^ "Lazer Tag Nerf Two-Player Battle System". Hasbro. Retrieved 2011-01-20.
  30. ^ Terrence O'Brien. "Hasbro reinvents Lazer Tag for the smartphone generation, lets you live out your Doom-fueled fantasies". Engadget. AOL.
  31. ^ "Nerf Dog Debuts". Global License!. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  32. ^ Irwin, Tanya (2013-06-20). "Hasbro Launches Nerf Dog". MediaPost. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  33. ^ Gazdik, Tanya. "Hasbro Launches Nerf Dog". Marketing Daily. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Hasbro to Launch Nerf Dog Toys". Gifts and Dec. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  35. ^ "10 must-have gifts for your pets this holiday season". Yahoo News.
  36. ^ "Pelican NERF PS2 Controller". IGN. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  37. ^ "IGN: Pelican Wiimote NERF Sleeve Exclusive Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  38. ^ "Nerf N-Strike Elite Review". IGN. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  39. ^ Kleiman, Joe. "Hasbro and Raw Thrills collaborate on NERF ARCADE". InPark Magazine. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  40. ^ Per-Lee, Myra. "The 11 Best Toys of 2011". InventorSpot. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
  41. ^ "U.K. Toy Fair: 2014 Toy Winners Announced". Global License!. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22.
  42. ^ "Hasbro Sues Buzz Bee Toys and Lanard Over Patents". Reuters. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  43. ^ "Hasbro Wins Patent Case Against Buzz Bee". Reuters. 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  44. ^ Biggs, John (2012-04-25). "Hasbro Goes After Blogger in IP Theft Case". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
  45. ^ Crook, Andrew (2012-04-24). "Nerf guns at 10 paces: Hasbro faces boycott after siccing lawyers onto fan site". Crikey. Retrieved 2013-01-24.

External linksEdit