January 22, 2006


When people at both AskJeeves and Penny Arcade are doing something, have I any choice but to follow?

I went out yesterday and purchased a Nerf Nite Finder, a single-shot pistol that fires sucker-tipped squishy foam darts. Jacob is holding out for the Maverick, which was sold out at Target, but it's folly if you ask me. For one, at the moment, I have a Nerf gun and he doesn't. I may have only three darts (they were out of refills too) and need to reload after each shot, but that's three soft and non-injurious things I can land on him before he gathers up my ammo and hides it from me. For two, even when he gets his Maverick, he will still not have an honest-to-god targeting beam. And I do! My gun has a little red LED and an adjustable magnifying lens to coalesce it into a surprisingly bright and accurate target dot. Oh man. It's a whole different world now.

Scene: the house on 63rd Street, 7 pm
Jacob (opening door): Hi sweetie!
(Silence, disturbed by a slight creaking)
Jacob (uncertainly): Dianna?
(Red dot appears on Jacob's shirt and hovers there for a suspenseful moment. Squishy foam dart suddenly flies out of the darkness of the kitchen and hits Jacob's chest with a solid thwacking noise.)
Dianna (appearing in kitchen doorway looking shocked): Honey! You've... you've been hit! What kind of a monster could have done this?
Jacob (sighing and picking up foam dart from the floor): You've still got the gun in your hand, you know.

Posted by dianna at January 22, 2006 02:40 PM

I dunno... That Maverick is like a Nerf Mini-Gun. You don't really need accuracy when you can unleash a barage of darts like that. You'll need to rely on stealth and evasion once Jacob is armed.

Posted by: Zach S. at January 22, 2006 02:53 PM

And deception! Think about it -- I can wander innocently into the room with my gun not at all visible, and still shoot and hit him with it because I have a means of aiming that doesn't require me to sight down my gun or even be looking at it. He may have greater firepower, but I have much greater sneakiness.

The other mitigating factor is that even with the Maverick, you still need to cock the thing between shots. The time difference between reloading-and-cocking and just cocking can't be that much, and I'm hoping that'll take some of the sting out of his barrage capability. I really do need to find some replacement darts, though, unless I'm planning on stealing all his ammo.

Posted by: Dianna at January 22, 2006 03:16 PM

True, he'll have the six darts to your three. But what'll happen when you buy six more for yourself? He'll buy an extra twelve. Soon it'll be an arms race and you'll be striding about the house wearing bandoliers of nerf darts, clad in camouflage, with foam fragmentation grenades hanging from your belt. When will the violence end?

Posted by: Zach S. at January 22, 2006 04:50 PM


1. you're condoning this kind of violence?
2. they cost under $10?!?
3. we all need to buy one (or the other) and find someplace with copius defensible positions and split up into teams and have a capture the flag war! i imagine this as being EVEN MORE FUN than badminton.
4. suggestions for where and when to hold said war now open for discussion. i'm voting somewhere sort of remote so no civilians get injured in the crossfire. and for the when? maybe my birthday!

Posted by: michele at January 22, 2006 05:26 PM

YES! Yes! The Nite Finder is only $6.50ish and the Maverick is only $8.50ish! You can find them at Target or Toys R Us! We're still working on replacement darts, of which any mass Nerf engagement will need LOTS. Mostly since we'll all miss wildly (a good reason for the Nite Finder, people) and lose most of our darts.

Nerf war yes! The more people, the more hiding places, and the more bloodthirsty firing of totally harmless foam pellets, the better! Senseless Violence For Michele's Birthday!

Posted by: Dianna at January 22, 2006 06:05 PM

maybe all the bunkers on top of the hill in the marin headlands? that would make a good place for a war. though probably park officials would forbid us from having it. plus, i don't remember how to get there.

Posted by: michele at January 22, 2006 07:00 PM

Is the Nite Finder muzzle-loading or breech-loading? Because that makes a huge difference in reloading time, as I just learned last week in my Civil War history class. If it's muzzle-loading, Jacob may have you. Once he gets his weapon, that is.

Posted by: katie at January 22, 2006 07:33 PM

It's muzzle-loading, but fortunately doesn't require powder, a ball, the tamping rod, the little cloth or whatever, and all that crap that I vaguely remember from The Red Badge of Courage. Also you can load it and then turn it upside down without your projectile falling out.

Plus, there's a tiny ammo-holder at the front of the gun that holds two foam darts in the same orientation in which you load them. You just grab one, pull it out of one slot and put it in the next slot up, cock, and shoot. When you use up those two darts and move on to the ones in your pocket it may get more difficult.

Oh! And! The cocking mechanism on the Nite Finder has a handy finger loop to make it extra easy to pull back. The cocking mechanism on the Maverick doesn't have one and is therefore ever so slightly harder to grab and pull.

I can't believe I'm writing this treatise on Nerf weaponry.

Posted by: Dianna at January 22, 2006 08:01 PM

Hum. Bearing in mind that I haven't used one, I worry you're under-estimating the Maverick's rate of fire. It seems like it would be fairly easy, if shooting from the hip, to develop a rapid-fire shooting technique. You'd use your main hand to aim and fire, with the other hand instantly cocking in preparation for another shot. It wouldn't be machine-gun fast, but it'd be a lot faster than reloading and firing the Night Finder. On the other hand, I'd imagine it takes longer to reload the Maverick once it's out of ammunition than it does to stick one in the Night Finder.

Posted by: Zach S. at January 22, 2006 08:10 PM

How about IN the Marin bunkers? Crouching about in the tomblike darkness with no light other than little red dots of death.

I can get us there and show you the door. It's up to *you* to crawl under it.

Posted by: Danny at January 23, 2006 10:02 AM

let me know when you graduate to AirSoft weapons. THEN i'll play along too! i'm pretty sure Don will fly in for that also. Hey, it still hurts less than paintball. My AirSoft Sig P226 holds 25 pellets.

Posted by: max at January 23, 2006 10:09 AM