The nerf gun. A classic childhood toy that involves shooting small foamy projectiles out of the barrel of a plastic device that resembles various versions of hand weapons.
I’m personally a big fan of the nerf gun.
First, it does not actually injure the target, except in very rare occasions. While this is a downside in actual combat situations, it is a definite plus elsewhere.
Second, you can use it to kill zombies. This is clearly shown in the popular live-action game humans vs. zombies, which has swept over college campuses nationwide. Any gun that can take down a reanimated corpse is a winner in my book.
Third, and this is a benefit I recently became aware of, Nerf guns can be modified (or modded) into super-awesome steampunk weapons of coolness.
Steampunk = Victorian Era + Steam-powered Mechanics + Speculative Fictional Ideas.
To quote a decent Wikipedia article:
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistictechnology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion,culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne.
One of the most unique aspects of steampunk is the modifications (mods) people make to existing inventions in order to make them look “Victorian.” Any modern device, from laptops to MP3 players to a host of other electronic devices can be fitting with bits of shiny metal, slivers of wood, and many other gizmos to make them look aesthetically Victorian. It’s fascinating to look at, and quite beautiful.
However, sometimes I have to wonder at the time and energy that goes into this steampunk world. While many people argue over the details of steampunk, one major aspect seems to be a faith in the human ability to shape the world into a better or darker future. People who are deeply into steampunk want to go back to this time when everything seems full of promise and potential–before the darkness of the nuclear age. A time when inventions were big and quirky and shiny, instead of drab and functional.
Now, I like toys. I’m the girl who has a house full of homemade foam-bladed medieval weaponry. I also like the escapism that comes with imagining a different future. It can be a fun game. However, there’s also a danger in embracing the steampunk lifestyle. Like it or not, we were made to live in this world, in this time period. Permanently living in an alternate version of the past blocks you from seeing God’s grace and goodness in the present day.
“Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands. ” -Psalm 115:3-4
Brass and shiny metals don’t have to be in the shape of humans to be idols. They just have to get in the way of the only true Creator, Jesus Christ. So before embarking on the exciting steampunk fantasy, make sure you stop and appreciate the God-given reality visible all around us without metallic embellishments.
(And if you have the inclination to mod a nerf gun, go for it! After all, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little bit of creativity, beauty, and class to the noble task of stalking someone with a foam projectile weapon.)