I firmly believe that there should be some kind of rating system on toys, like the MPAA and Video Game rating systems, whereby persons over the age of 20 are given exclusive rights to the most kick-ass of recreational foam-dart technology.
Case in point: the Nerf N-Strike Series.
This is a line of toys modeled after semi-realistic designs, built for large hands and arms, and with features lacking in all previous sponge-weapon technology. Magazine clips and ammunition belts. Hoppers. Adjustable stocks. Flood lamps. Chamber hatches. Adjustable sights for arcing long-distance. Sniper scopes. The ability to break down into innocuous component parts.
Children cannot possibly fathom the awesomeness of such things, let alone hold the fuckers. Until you've spent an eternity of breathless seconds crouched, back against a fallen log, frantically trying to pull a final jammed dart from your gun barrel, hoping to God you can get it out and load that final shot before Charlie comes creeping around that muddy hill, you don't know man. You just don't know.
The N-Strike line is more deadly than ever, featuring Wii-like DVD technology in training programs, silent-motored fully automatic machine guns with hopper and belt-feed, capable of firing off 3 rounds per second as it's swung on it's dual-axis tripod in a truly volcanic eruption of orange-tipped death that can only call it "The Vulcan." The new line is rounded out by the N-Strike Recon, a simple side arm with deadly accuracy and enough add-ons to takw you from sniping, to assault, to close-quarters assassination. Veterans will also be familiat with the Longshot, a sniper rifle with built-in bipod that is relatively lightweight and can break down into a mid-range assault rifle and large, one-shot sidearm.
A few heroes however stand by their trusted ally, the N-Strike series forerunner sidearm "Maverick." Featuring none of the frills or attachments of later models, the Maverick was a 6-shot revolver-style pistol that survives on it's heft, balance, and deadly accuracy alone. Many have stared down the barel of a Maverick and heard their last click-POP.
Despite it's continued production in the yellow-and-black run, many original blue-model Mavericks are still in use today. Avid collectors have taken to routinely diasasembling and maintaining their originals, even going so far as to modify the weapons for deadlier functionality.
"Every few months I take the whole shebang apart and give it a good cleaning," Sgt. David Zucker was reported as saying. "The internals need a once-over and I'll stretch the spring out to give it more air pressure, resulting in longer, more accurate shots."
"My personal touch is a modified chamber design. The day I bought it I used the broken blade of my buddy's pocket knife to take it all apart. I didn't even have a screwdriver!" he laughs. "I stretched the spring in a couple minutes and spent the next two hours filing down the guard nub and cutting away until the entire chamber was free-spinning. Now I can load darts 50% faster and when I slap the barrel I can do that cool looking spinny-snap loading move."
"We usually do that with one dart and play Russian Roulette for shots of vodka. Everybody wins."