It is a book that should be a blast for every budding engineer and cubicle combat enthusiast to read.
A Prospect Heights father, children’s author, and toy lover has released “Nerf: the Ultimate Blaster Book,” an educational encyclopedia celebrating the technical wizardry Hasbro brings into play when designing its popular line of foam-projectile launchers.
“The designers at Hasbro are really smart guys,” said author Nathaniel Marunas, who was given unprecedented access to the wrench-monkeys responsible for all the latest Nerf-related technology while researching the tome. “They’re constantly striving to build a better blaster than last-year’s.”
The book chronicles the evolution of the iconic toys from the original 1989 model to the extensive arsenal of neon-colored gadgets available today, and includes fascinating facts from behind the blaster-building scenes — some of which Marunas shared with The Brooklyn Paper.
For instance, not only are Hasbro’s engineers and designers a group of serious and talented individuals, they have really cool titles, too — like Senior Nerf Armorer Erin Mead, who helped guide the author through the company’s design procedures.
“The engineers are always trying to push the limit and make blasters that will shoot farther, but without violating safety regulations,” said Marunas.
Achieving a balance between power and safety is one of the major design principles that Nerf-blaster makers struggle with, explained Marunas. The blaster boffins utilize the invaluable knowledge of their main demographic, kids, who help out by letting the toy company’s adult-sized designers know how the toys feel in the hands of America’s little men and women.
“One thing they do is get a bunch of kids to test the blaster’s ergonomics,” said Marunas.
To celebrate the launch of his new title, Marunas is hosting a party for kids at the powerHouse Arena on Dec. 7, where he will follow up a brief lecture on the design process of some popular Nerf toys by raffling off a few blasters and then letting kids loose on a Nerf firing range, which the book store will set up for the event.
Nathaniel Marunas presents “Nerf: the Ultimate Blaster Book” at powerHouse Arena [37 Main St. between Water and Front streets in DUMBO, (718) 666–3049, www.powerhousearena.com] Dec. 7, 4 pm. Free.