Southern Brisbane Nerf Club

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tek Recon, changing how you blast

This post has been a long time coming. Before starting this blog I put together a lot of material about Nerf and other branded foam dart blasters (ie. Buzz Bee) and have been working through that. But as I near the end of my backlog ("backlog", insert childish giggle here) I've taken some time to put together an article about the new kid in the game... Tek Recon!

WARNING: pic heavy.

Everyone gets excited when a new thing comes out. Even more when it could change the way we do something. Take the iPod for example. I'm not an Apple fanboi, quite the opposite actually. But I recognise that the iPod revolutionised the music industry.

Firstly, what is it. Well, for those of you who don't know, Tek Recon make blasters (duh!) but unlike any other blasters before, they fire... well, rubber bands called NRG rings,(made from TPR rubber) and can get a claimed range of up to 75 feet and the Havok's magazine hold 90 rounds... 90!. This is much better than the rubber band shooters my Grand-dad (RIP) used to make. But more than making very cool looking blasters with recoil...

... its what can be done with them that makes them new, innovative and very, VERY cool. Let's talk about, game consoles, without games, what are they? Not a lot really. It's the games you play on them that make them enjoyable isn't it? Like Nerf, yes the blasters are nice, but participating in a war or HvZ game makes the blasters far more enjoyable.

This is where Tek Recon gets innovative. They made the blaster and a game to be played using them. Since DOOM by ID Software (Wolfenstein was the first FPS but DOOM launched the genre), the world has been First Person Shooter crazy. Have a look at Call Of Duty, Halo, Battlefield. These are the highest selling games at the moment and they all have one thing in common, they're all FPSs. So why are FPSs so dang popular? Well it's probably because in the game, you can be you. You're not playing as another person or character (ok so in Halo you're someone else, but not in multiplayer). But what if you could play in a REAL LIFE FPS? But, you know, with out the risk of death.

That is what Tek Recon has done. Not only are there blasters, but, there is a video game as well with the best possible resolution... real life! There is an iOS and Android app that has different game modes (such as capture the flag and death match) and a smartphone/iPod Touch holder. The Tek Recon app is free and uses GPS to locate team mates and opponents and there are 4 display modes; Standard, Night Vision, Heat Seeker and X-Ray. It gets cooler, you can even choose the sound effect for your blaster (please please please have the Star Wars blaster sound). The way it works is, using GPS and an internet connection, the location of the combatants is uploaded to Tek Recon's server and then that info is downloaded by your device and displayed on a radar. Think about it, imagine if later on you could download different skins for the radar?!?!?! Aliens anybody? There is an ammo counter too.

OK, you get it, Tek Recon is like cyber Nerf with rubber bands. It's much more than that, embedded in the Tek Recon app is a QR code scanner...

... this means, using QR codes, you can pickup power-ups, extra lives and capture flags. There is also a Live Chat feature as well.

So by now you get it. Tek Recon is cool, innovative and new. But, they're venturing into a Hasbro (and Buzz Bee to a much lesser extent) dominated market. Nerf is a time tested brand, they are king at the moment, but, perhaps they do feel a little threatened, or, fear that some of their market share will go to Tek Recon. Because of the release of the Nerf tactical app for iOS (no Android at the moment, so, I can't get it), I'm inclined to think they might be a little concerned. It does some of the Tek Recon stuff, but not as well if early reviews are to be believed. Not to mention too, people love a good underdog story.

I get the feeling that Tek Recon know that they can't tackle Hasbro head-on, but are quite happy being the thorn in their side. A little reminder that someone has stolen some of their thunder. Don't get me wrong though. I love Nerf. I love tinkering with them and seeing how they work, I love modifying them and seeing what their limit is. But Tek Recon has the "hey that's new and different" factor going for them. And when something new and different comes out, it's all eyes on the new guy, and I love it when someone "sticks it to the man" (I think that's what the hip kids say these days).

I'm very interested in taking one apart and seeing what makes it tick too. I've seen the animation of the clockwork but I would really like to see how it functions in the real world (a clear version perhaps). Also, Nerf has its fair share of unauthorised copiers, but Hasbro is big enough to absorb the small loss in revenue, but for a small company like Tek Recon, it could be very damaging. Some fashion label knock offs that my wife has are very good quality and can be easily mistaken for the real thing. It would be a great loss if such a promising product from such an innovative company was killed by cheap knock-offs (my father lost his job due to cheap knock-offs).

I'm very eager to see paint jobs on these blasters as well, as awesome as the stock paint job is, It will be interesting to see what modders such as Nerfenstein do with them... did I hear someone say "integration"?.. no? Ok then. Moving on.

For now there is just the Hammerhead pistol and the bigg'n, the Havok. But I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the line, will there be slam-fire? Will there be more blasters to choose from? (a full auto maybe). Will there be more features in the app and will the app become customisable? I'd love to see DLC skins and sounds :) What I'm not looking forward to is how these blasters will perform after the strict Australian toy safety regulations have had their way with the blasters.

I'm very excited about the Canadian new comer, I love good ideas and Tek Recon is a very good idea. The blasters look awesome (gimme a Black Chrome Havok any day!), the idea behind it is brilliant, the ammo looks like it can withstand more punishment than foam darts (hands up if you've ever trod on a dart? *puts hand up*). Not to mention, a 90 round mag is incredible and a refill pack of NRG rings should be cheaper than a box of dart refills.

Tek Recon's Kickstarter vid (Kickstarter is closed)

Almost done, I promise.

At present, Tek Recon don't sell to Australia. And as S.O.F.T (Squadron Of Foam Tasmania) pointed out in their post "Australian Safety Standard: Confused?". Nerf blasters get castrated before they're permitted into the big brown country. But, there is a blaster that fired compressed paper rounds called the Max Force Shadow Hawk 100. As S.O.F.T pointed out, bullets made of paper mache would sting a lot more than foam darts, so why is the Shadow Hawk allowed to fire 30 metres but the centurion will be pegged at 23 metres? One theory is that the Australian Government (don't get me started on THAT MESS!) seems to favour smaller companies. If this is true, maybe the Tek Recon stuff will remain unchanged and won't get impounded by customs... we can but hope.

~ Rob


  1. Fantastic post, you guys are really fast becoming one of my fav blog sites!!

    Awesome article, i'm excited to see your next article - no pressure :)


  2. My modding appetite will eat this like high fructose corn syrup.

  3. So what could possibly the australian safety standard body or customs belly ache about this blaster? It is a. Few steps up from a rubberband gun?


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