updated 02/26/2014 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/26/2014 AT 8:30 AM ET
Hard to believe, but NERF turns 45 in 2014. We’re reeling a little bit that a brand so inextricably tied to childhood is nearly a half-century old, but we’re also too busy celebrating by pelting each other with small foam balls to be too concerned.
Join the celebration with this timeline of a brand that that’s impacted more schoolchildrens’ heads than basic math.
In 1972, a basketball game called NERFoop and the NERF football were introduced. NERF Baseball joined in 1983.
Also debuting in 1991: The screaming football known as the Vortex. Originally a Koosh property, the toy eventually found its way into the NERF family. (The author has fond memories of hearing this thing scream across playgrounds en route to someone’s hands – or head.) The non-screaming version of the football was fun, too, we suppose.
NERF’s Ballzooka came out in 1994, and as this ad mentions, it was indeed NERF or nothin’. By which we mean, you had this thing or you were destroyed by everyone else on the playground.
The company teamed up with Mike Piazza and Peyton Manning for a series of ads in 2002.
NERF started the NERF Dart World Championship in 2009, traveling to five cities across the U.S. and setting up competitions.
NERF, you’ve come a long way. Here’s to another 45 years!
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