In 1970, Non-Expanding Recreational Foam (NERF) was born. Back then, there were no darts or blasters, though. It all started with a magical four-inch little foam ball. A foam ball designed for indoor play. A ball that would be heavy enough to be thrown effectively, but light enough that it wouldn’t break anything. A product that would take the world by storm.
“Throw it indoors. You can’t damage lamps or break windows. You can’t hurt babies or old people.”
Nerf Blast-A-Ball – Foam is a Blast.
In 1989, the Nerf BLAST-A-BALL became the first Nerf blaster. The package came with two blasters and four soft Nerf balls. Up until this time, there were no blasters. There were only several different types of Nerf balls and discs. Nothing to propel them. But then, in 1989 Nerf decided it wanted to expand past its original ball. Now it was blasting those balls from a tube.
Complex Magazine featured the Blast-A-Ball in its list of “The 80 Best Gadgets of the 80’s.”
You would front load the Blast-A-Ball like a musket, and then pull back the handle and push forward as hard as you could. This would fire the foam ball out very quickly and with a loud popping noise. The Blast-A-Ball was an instant hit (no pun intended). It was succeeded a year later by the Nerf Blast-A-Matic. The Blast-a-Matic was largely the same, except it allowed for you to load 3 balls at once and fire them without reloading. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was a potential game changer if you were battling someone with the earlier Nerf Blast-a-Ball. The fact that there was only a year difference between them was a big deal, too. It was later replaced by the Master Blaster and then the Ballzooka. They were all notable upgrades, with each blaster getting crazier than the last.
It’s Nerf or Nothin’
So, there you have it. A throwback blaster review. The first Nerf Blaster. The Nerf Blast-A-Ball. I hope you enjoyed it. I think this blaster would still be enjoyed by kids today. It seems pretty timeless. Pure, simple fun. I dunno. Today, if you look for the Nerf Blast-A-Ball on Amazon.com, the first thing that pops up is the Nerf Vortex PRAXIS Blaster. The Praxis is a disc blaster. This is sort of an in-between, I guess. The next search result is the Nerf Reactor. The Reactor is actually very reminiscent of the Blast-A-Ball. It fires Nerf Ballistic Balls with a similar “pump-and-pull” action. One last question: What do you do when your enemies unleash a fierce volley of foam projectiles at you?