For two decades, Nerf has ruled the dart gun "blaster market" virtually uncontested. Today, that changes, as Mattel reveals a secret project almost three years in the making, a new line of blasters dubbed BOOMco. The line of four blasters will be available in the U.S. this summer, ranging from roughly $10 to $60.
Designed to look and feel like the superbikes of toy gun world, they fire faster and straighter than Nerf blasters. (And let me say, it’s a strange feeling to aim a blaster and have it shoot where you intended!) But BOOMCo.’s greatest competitive advantage is right on the dart tip: Mattel has replaced Nerf’s wonky plungers with a proprietary compound developed by its in-house Chem Lab (the same lab that invented Slime).
Dubbed SmartStick, this substance doesn’t feel sticky, and it won't cling to your fingers, clothes, or walls. However, when fired at a designated target, the dart tip will splat to the surface like gum. Mattel's Chem Lab developed a chemically complementary, lock-and-key system that lets the target and dart tip stick and then unstick again and again.
Fast Company was invited to Mattel headquarters to take an exclusive first look at BOOMCo. We’ve shared a video tour, filled of lots of pew pew splat splat, above. And we’ll be publishing our deeper dive into the development of this new brand of toys soon.