Shooting without killing: the cozy cult of Nerf Arena Blast
When I was a child, I wanted a toy gun. I can’t remember why exactly. Probably simply because that’s the kind of toy that many kids end up wanting, rather than anything nefarious. Regardless, my mum wouldn’t allow it. It was glamorising a weapon after all. She felt the same about the Teenage Mutant Hero/Ninja Turtles, so the nearest I got to one of those was some beloved Turtles stationery. In hindsight, I guess I could have inflicted some nasty damage with a Leonardo-adorned pencil, but I resisted. Instead, one day, out of frustration, I made a gun out of Lego and, well, that’s how I ended up being allowed to own toy guns until I grew out of them.
Given the effort involved in possessing the most violent of toys, you’d think once I was able to choose games to play, I’d pick the most excessively violent titles possible, wouldn’t you? Instead, one of my favourite multiplayer shooters ended up being Nerf Arena Blast – a title that many parents would love to see a resurgence of, I promise. It offered all the thrills of extreme gaming violence with none of the gore or unpleasantry.
You see, Nerf Arena Blast was basically Unreal Tournament reskinned with Nerf guns and a suitably vibrant backdrop. A loose storyline had you pursuing the Nerf Champion of the World title by completing various maps and game types. It was an incredible amount of fun. Probably because it was so garish and ridiculous. One mode had you racing through coloured flags in order, trying to tag other players along the way by shooting them. Another, called BallBlast, was a scavenger hunt where you collected coloured balls and shot them at specific targets. There was a Deathmatch mode too, but that wasn’t where things were exceptionally creative, although it was still gleefully violence-free.
Original Post By – Eurogamer