Hasbro has now properly shown off Nerfball, the game which it’s calling the first ever Nerf sport for the brand. It’s a bit like basketball mixed with paintball, though there’s also a dollop of capture the flag and just a pinch of Quidditch thrown into the mix. The company has also revealed it plans to release new hit detection gear in 2024, which can detect when its wearer is struck by a Nerf dart.
To demonstrate its new sport, Hasbro recruited a roster of promising college and high school athletes into teams led by former football receiver Donald Driver and Nerf Youtuber Luke Goodman. It then equipped them with one of the best Nerf guns, the NERF Pro Stryke X Blaster, and set them off in a match at IMG Academy in Florida. The tournament took place on September 22, 2023, and an edited version is now available to watch online.
According to the Nerfball rules, players score 6 points for landing the ball in their opponents’ goal, but also get 1 point for tagging each other out with Nerf guns. If you’re hit, you’ve gotta go back and respawn, but aim carefully – each player has a limited supply of ammo, and there’s strictly no restocking your supply with used darts. The field is a regular rectangle shape, but comes littered with inflatable obstacles to use as cover.
The match, which Hasbro is calling the ‘Battle in the Bubble’ took just 16 minutes. Highlights include a long shot by Driver from the centerfield at 10:20, and a sudden jump scare, when a hand emerges from out of nowhere to grab the ball about six seconds into the trailer. The promised hit detection gear, which seems likely to be a way bigger deal than Nerfball for the average Nerf fan, does not appear to feature in the match.
According to Adam Kleinman, Nerf’s senior vice president, Nerfball has been in the works for four years. “In 2019, we set out as a team on a journey to invent the first official sport of NERF and along the way created some of the most break frame technology to enhance the playing experience,” he says in a press release.
Hasbro apparently envisions “multiple levels of play” for Nerfball “from pro-grade tournaments to backyard sessions”. No details on these tournaments have been revealed so far, and the only place currently confirmed to be running Nerfball games is Garden State Plaza mall in New Jersey in 2024. The rules have been released online already, though, so you could conceivably get started in a park or backyard already.
We don’t all have the spare cash for a $120 Pro Stryke Blaster lying around. If you’re looking for a more affordable way to start your Nerf gun collection, check out these top cheap Nerf guns.