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What's Wrong With the Pulsator?

NerfCenter Editorials

Written On 06/06/99

Editorial by Andy Grau

What’s wrong with the Pulsator? Everything. What’s wrong with the Expand-a-Blast? It was poorly designed and poorly manufactured. Why is Hasbro releasing these horrible weapons?

Because of the consumer. Not you specifically, but the new brand of Nerfers who want big cool guns like the Arrowstorm and the Ballzooka. They want guns that are big and cool-looking. Hasbro’s trying to make them happy. It’ll cost everyone, though.

The Problem

To look at where this problem originated from, one has to look back at the 1993-1994 Nerf Season. Weapons like the Arrowstorm, Chainblazer, and Ballzooka were being released, and everyone was happy. To put it simply, these guns rocked. Not only were they all automatic (in the pull-push sense), but they also were awesome unmodified. They represented the three most important types of ammo at that time- balls, arrows, and darts. The Storm weapons were also making an appearance at this time. Life was good.

But then something happened. In 1997, Hasbro made some sever changes to the Nerf product line. Guns like the Arrowstorm had been discontinued the previous year along with the ever popular Max Force line. A new generation of Nerfers was on its way, and Hasbro needed some appealing guns- fast. The solution: Max Force 2012.

It was a nice idea. Going off of the Max Force product line, Nerf decided to make new, cool looking weapons that fundamentally did nothing at all but shoot ammo twenty feet or less. All the guns looked like animals. Wonderful, but what could they do? Nothing at all. No one really liked this series and Hasbro dumped the idea. The animal idea worked well with the Manta Ray (which probably was one of the inspirations for the MF 2012 line), but that gun had power and function, along with a cool look. Hasbro went back to the drawing boards.

Act II

Next idea: the Mega Blitz and Hyper Sight series. No crazy looking guns, but actual weapons which looked like they had some power. However, of all the guns released in these series, only the Lock-n-Load and Big Bad Bow were good guns. The majority of the others were horrible. Fundamental design flaws smacked these guns in the face with problems.

Take the Expand-a-Blast for example. It’s a good gun in theory, a solid sniper weapon. However, the "expanding" of the weapon serves no purpose. Nothing. When the gun is expanded, the dart in the barrel falls out. A wonderful thing, especially in a Nerf war. Next up, the maximum distance. Ouch. For being a "sniper" weapon, the Expand-a-Blast can shoot 18-20 feet tops. In addition, the gun shoots farther when compressed and not in its expanded form. Why does the range suck so much when this gun is fired? Let’s take a look at the gun’s firing mechanism.

If you are plagued with owning an Expand-a-Blast, try firing the weapon. Hear that hollow "thunk" sound the gun makes? The weapon’s air tubes are not well connected internally. Next, witness how the dart falls out of the barrel when the gun is expanded. Another bad air seal, this time between the dart and the barrel. Sadly, it does not take much to figure these problems out. Why couldn’t Hasbro see this before the weapon was released? Probably, they did. Time constraints probably made Hasbro launch this gun before its flaws could be worked out.


With the release of the Big Bad Bow and the new Airjet Power weapons, things are finally looking up for Nerf. The Big Bad Bow represents one of the best re-release of a Nerf gun yet. Similar re-releases have occurred before (Rattler to the RachetBlast, RocketStorm to the SuperMAXX 250 Dart Blaster) but never have been so successful. The Big Bad Bow improves successfully on every aspect of the original Bow ‘n’ Arrow, and introduces a new type of Arrow (one that shoots farther and more accurately). The Airjet Power weapons also possess incredible maximum distances and accuracy, but at the cost of having to pump these guns. Still, Hasbro is changing the Nerf line back into the symbol of power and performance that it used to be (and the new guns look pretty cool, too).

So, how can Hasbro continue upon this trend? Simple- by going with what has worked in the past. By re-releasing the older, awesome weapons like the Arrowstorm, Hasbro can please its consumers at little cost whatsoever. Even better, the older weapons can be improved upon. Give the Arrowstorm new colors; package it with new arrows. Add some ammo holders to it. The possibilities would be endless. The Arrowstorm II would be awesome.

What does this all mean?

The problem with the newer guns is that Hasbro is ignoring the success of the older weapons. Instead of going back to the basics of guns that have worked, Hasbro’s been trying out way too many new things. It’s time to get back to the basics. Re-establish a solid base of guns and then try out new designs. Hasbro had better be careful when improving upon the older guns, though. The Master Blaster was good, the Pulsator was not. Improve upon the designs that worked, Hasbro, and all will be well.


Please note: for editing purposes, proper copyright information is not displayed in editorials.  All names and items found above are copyright Hasbro, Inc. unless otherwise noted.

AirJet Power(TM)
The Pulsator™.
It's big, it's brown, and it reeks.





"A new generation of Nerfers was on its way, and Hasbro needed some appealing guns- fast. "













"Instead of going back to the basics of guns that have worked, Hasbro's been trying out too many new things."

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