By Chase Kassel
I have been collecting Nerf Blasters since I was 8 years old. At the time, I couldn’t imagine the N-Strike line getting larger or better. By the time I was twelve, however, I had built a four-foot by eight-foot wooden board to put half of my collection on. The whole collection consisted in total of about 45 Nerf blasters. With my eyes closed I could tell you which blaster was which and how to put it together. Then, in 2011, when I was 14, Nerf introduced something completely different from the Darts. The Vortex line, which was made up of four disc blasters. The Nitron, Praxis, Proton, and Vigilon were on the market. I had to get them immediately.
With the entire hullabaloo about them I raced over to a store, picked them up, brought them home, and was completely underwhelmed. I realized that the performance between both N-Strike for darts and Vortex for discs was not as good as it could be. The N-Strike darts flew quickly but fell short on distance. By contrast the Vortex discs were almost trying to makeup for the shortcomings of the darts distances with the “XLR Discs”, (Extra Long Range). The distances for the Nerf line were cranked up, but only by a few feet. Moreover, the Vortex discs flew rather slowly. I expected from this new line for there to be no problems with accuracy, distance, or speed, but I was left with small green Frisbees flew about as well a book being chucked across a room.
Both sides have their ups and downs, but I feel that the N-Strike dart line has more ups than downs compared to the Vortex Line. With the N-Strike blasters you can change out the different barrels for accuracy, like on the Longshot CS-6, Recon CS-6, Deploy CS-6, Longstrike CS-6, Spectre REV-5, Retaliator, Rapidstrike CS-18, Raven CS-18, and Stryfe. However, with the Vortex line you cannot change out the barrels on any of their blasters. Furthermore, the different types of ammo in the N-Strike line allow the player to use different darts for different missions. In addition with the release of the N-Strike Elite line, Nerf is trying to get the same Dart to be universal in every blaster, as to there be less confusion on which Dart goes to which blaster. The Dart blasters allow for more Tactical Rails to be put on each blaster so the player can customize and modify their blaster however they please. Suddenly the sword is starting to look like a more plausible answer for a Nerf battle.
On the other hand The Vortex line looks futuristic and makes the shield safer than the sword. The futuristic look makes it easier to look at without it resembling a weapon even if someone were to paint over it. The Vortex Line started off with a bang with the four Disc launchers, and none of them seemed to borrow looks from any of the blasters from Nerf preceding them. Nerf did break the previous distance mark, but that was about it. Despite being generally unimpressed, the Discs for that time all the way back in 2011 were amazing because they were the first real blaster line that could break the 35 foot line of distance. The Discs could fly fairly far and fairly straight. It seemed too good to be true, with this whole new idea of Nerf blasting. The technologies in the Vortex line differed from N-Strike in how they launched their projectiles and/or loaded them. The Pyragon has a 40 Disc drum magazine that has these compartments inside the drum magazine that would rotate to the next tube when the tube filled with discs before it was emptied. The Discs can also be ricocheted off something and bank in mid air, if the player would like it to.
The Vortex Line would be useful to someone playing inside so that they can ricochet off walls. Like a shield, the Discs won’t fly too fast so they won’t harm anyone or anything. The N-Strike Line would be better for outside use, especially the N-Strike Elite Line because the darts fly farther and faster than the Discs. The Darts are better for distance and speed. The Darts are accurate to about 30 to 40 feet or so, but will still keep on flying. Even though every Nerf blaster is a different size and price point, the blasters for both N-Strike and Vortex are about the same when it comes to size of the blaster and how many darts it can shoot. But as a Nerfer for 8 years, I would say that the N-Strike Line gives the buyer a little more bang for their buck.
Nerf created the Dart blasting line in the 1970’s and then created the Disc launching line about two years ago to expand their market and a child’s smile.
N-Strike blasters look better, feel superior, perform greater, and sound grander. The Dart to me still comes out as best in show compared to the Disc. Even though the Disc line or, Vortex, came out fairly recently, I strongly feel as a Nerf Nerd that the Nerf Dart still comes out as top dog. My point here that the darts are better than discs should interest those who play with Nerf blasters, and the parents who buy them. Beyond this limited audience, however, my point should speak to anyone who cares about the larger issue of why the Dart blasters should be bought over Disc blasters. Thus, the sword is mightier than the shield, unless the battle is about protecting the lampshades and vases around the house.