Are kids bigger little scamps these days or are they just leaving more evidence? Unclear, but they sure have cooler toys, among which they can soon count Nerf's new N-Strike Elite Cam ECS-12 Blaster, a crazy gun that records and plays back your target practice right on the crosshairs -- and leaves plenty for the mounting evidence pile.
So what is the crazy toy, if not a reason to wish you were still a kid? We got to play with it (read: shoot our editorial assistant, Bob, sometimes at point blank range) to find out. Still in prototype phase, the ECS-12 looks and feels and shoots like a standard Nerf gun. It has a clip that has 12 foam darts that the gun can send soaring up to 27 metres. Awesome, awesome, all of it awesome. But it gets better, with a camera to record photos and an almost two-inch low-res colour screen right where the sight should be. It is certainly not a regular ol' Nerf gun.
The ESC-12 isn't the first Nerf gun to record, but it is the first to play it back right on the gun. Underneath the camera there are four buttons, one to start and stop recording, another to toggle between photo and video, one for playback, and another for delete. On the front shaft of the blaster, there's a spot for a 4GB memory card. Seriously, that this thing has four freaking gigs of memory is just utterly ridiculous (in a good way). Hasbro says that will hold up to 2000 photos, or three hours of video of you shooting unsuspecting friends or unruly neighbourhood teens.
Kid or not, you're going to have to wait several excruciating months to buy the ECS-12. The version we got to play with here at our offices is still just a prototype. Hasbro still has to work out a few kinks like sound on video playback and add things like labels on the buttons. It goes on sale this fall for $US80. In the meantime there is plenty of time to make sure those dadgum kids stay off your lawn (and for some target practice of your own).