Two years ago this month, as local film productions had slowed early on in the pandemic, I took a chance at applying for an internship posting I saw online. Initially, I considered it another gig, just like the many others I had after graduating from film school. Little did I know after being hired as a video editor for Out of Darts, I found not only a fantastic place to work but also a hobby I enjoyed being a part of.
That being said, I’m still relatively new to foam flinging; Luke has been active in the Nerf hobby for at least eight years and counting, and many others have been around for much longer. However, the time I have spent in this hobby has been almost solely dedicated to consuming and making content about foam flinging, and because of that, I think I can provide a different perspective on the last two years.
Foam Arsenal Evolutions
Like some other newer people in the hobby, I had the fortune to be lured in by Dart Zone. The Nexus Pro had only been on Walmart shelves for a month or two at that point, and having grown up without many blasters myself, I really had no baseline to measure from. Looking back at some older YouTube videos, it’s easy to see just how game-changing a $50 injection-molded short dart springer was to the hobby; other blaster releases, like the Game Face Prime, were caught on the back foot, offering a poorer performer with a bigger price tag. (Side note, the Game Face Prime review was the second video I ever edited for Out of Darts, uploaded in between the reviews of the Nerf Mega Motostryke and the Adventure Force Spectrum; those early videos are hard for me to watch because of how much I have improved as an editor).
With the appearance of mass-produced pro-line blasters, short darts have also become mainstream. FoamShepherd advocated for the inclusion of the half-length dart in games on this blog a few years ago after vendors started making safe alternatives to the handmade Stefans of the past. Fast forward to now, and we have a wide selection of half-lengths available on shelves and online, each with their own pros and cons. We love the Worker Gen 3+ HE (or “high end”) darts as the standard dart we use for testing and chronograph. Their heads stay on exceptionally well, they fly consistently, and they do not compress in the mag quite as much as others.
Returning to Games & Events
While games aren’t 100% back to normal everywhere, we are slowly returning to how things were pre-pandemic. Captain Xavier has hosted a few other YouTubers and us for invitational gamedays at his makerspace-arena, and you might have seen some footage from games hosted in our warehouse. It was weird timing for me to join the hobby; I still haven’t yet been to a public nerf game. But what gameplay I’ve experienced has been incredibly fun and welcoming.
Both EndWar in Rochester, NY, and FoamFest in the UK returned in person this summer. While Luke and I missed out on these events this year, we’re looking forward to a few smaller games in the area and marking our calendars for many of the big events coming in 2023.
There's More to Come...
The future is bright, both for the hobby and Out of Darts. Dart Zone keeps releasing some compelling offerings from stock to hobby grade. Worker continues to cater directly to the hobby with their releases, and other brands like Game Face, QWK, ZWQ, and more have provided unique releases as the market continues to grow.
Regardless, the hobby’s future seems safe outside the hands of Hasbro and name-brand Nerf. Given the alternative, we were almost always going to go for the cheaper, more mod-friendly option on the shelf; They ended up making that decision for us with the release of Ultra and Elite 2.0. That’s not to say they have been completely void of good releases in the last two years. The Mega XL ammo and Elite 2.0’s Trailblazer and Motoblitz have shown through an otherwise barren wasteland of offerings.
As for Out of Darts, we’re continuing to make and license designs, including that of Captain Slug and all the others that use the same catalog of hardware. Other designers like Tarik and RadioSilence have become mainstays, with the Little Rocket family of blasters and the Luchadora being very popular offerings on the shop. We’re currently working with Eli Wu to get Momentum available on the shop soon as well.
We’re excited to do another major build like we did with the nerf supersuits for Jimmy Kimmel Live Project. Those kinds of projects are rewarding to complete and share. Needless to say, Luke Out of Darts aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As for me, I will be here at OOD HQ editing videos for the YouTube channel. However, I will also be setting aside more time for writing blog posts.
As you know, algorithms are pernicious for creators, and we hope that keeping up with our blog might be another avenue we can interact with you more consistently. Some ideas we have can’t be boiled down to a 15-minute video, so we might choose to write a blog post in addition to a video. Maybe you’ll see more of me over the next two years. Perhaps I’ll be in front of the camera in a livestream sometime soon. We’ll have to wait and see. In the interim, you'll have to enjoy Luke and his guests in front of the camera. Occasionally, my editing assistant, Tully, makes an appearance in front of the lens.
There are many facets of the hobby I haven't yet explored, but I would like to. This pastime we all call our own is so diverse and accessible to just about anyone. I appreciate how welcoming everyone within the hobby has been. Between filming, editing, and some modding of my own, I’m looking forward to whatever may come next! I can’t wait to meet some of you on the Nerf battlefield. Until next time, I guess I’m Out of Darts too. - JPH