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Water Gun Mania!
by: -RoG-

Water Guns. It almost seems as if their popularity has been completely wiped out in recent years. I suppose it's not all that surprising really since you've got all these "Xtreme" activities nowadays such as paintball, jet skiing, and uh... BattleBots. Still, water guns were a big part of childhood fun and shouldn't be ignored. With that in mind, I'd like to take some time to look at how water guns have changed over the decades.

Futuristic Space Gun! :o SPECIAL Agent... but not secret. :(

All the way up until the 80's, your average water gun wasn't really going drench anyone. While they may have looked neat with designs such as the infamous "Space Gun", they could only shoot a few thin streams of water a very short distance. With limitations like that and the fact that you had to refill them constantly, your best bet was to aim for the eyes of your enemy and make a quick getaway. Still, these little squirt guns were a lot of fun to use and were pretty affordable. Another nice thing about the older, more basic guns is because they had limited firing range and water capacity, toy companies experimented with new designs. My particular favorite improvement on water guns was when they started creating hideously contorted creatures and famous character guns.

Kill me... PLEASE!

Believe it or not, that's supposed to be a frog. It's as if some illegal genetic mutation experiment had gone horribly wrong. And there were many, many water squirters just like this one. Tortured parrots, twisted fish, mangled snakes... pretty much anything that you would normally expect to only see in a carnival freak show could be found in a water gun format. Hell, they even got to Popeye damnit!

Put water in my ass! Ak ak ak ak ak! No... just... no.

You actually had to pour the water into Popeye's asshole - that's what you get for eating your spinach kids. But the toy companies weren't satisfied with simply mauling mother nature's creatures and tarnishing the memories of our favorite childhood icons. They also started making water guns from just about anything that was popular at the time. Take Star Trek for example...

SPOCK 4EVAR! To boldly go where no water gun has gone before!

Yep, they made water guns that looked just like phasers and the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek. Believe it or not, I've seen those suckers go for over $200 these days. For a while, if there was a popular TV show, you could bet your bottom dollar that there was a water gun based on it. They even started incorporating water guns into regular toy lines (ex: "Blazer" from the Robo Force series.)

When the 80's finally did come around, however, water guns were in for quite a few major changes. I went through a huge water-gun collecting phase in the mid-80's, where no matter what it was, if it shot water, I had to own it. My friends and I would actually have huge neighborhood meetings where we would gather up all the water guns we could find and drag them to the nearby football field for water gun battles that lasted entire afternoons. They were damned fun times and I accredit it all to one company: Entertech.

Batteries not included. >:(

Entertech introduced the motorized water guns in the 80's, and by god, at the time these things were extremely badass. Even their slogan was pretty badass... "THE LOOK. THE FEEL. THE SOUND. SO REAL. ENTERTECH!" Besides looking like real guns, the Entertech toy line also boasted a rapid-firing range up to a whopping 30-feet. Compared to the 10-foot range (at best) that most squirt guns had, this was an enormous improvement and everybody wanted one of these new guns. They even came with refillable water clips so you wouldn't have to run to the nearest spigot all the time.

Can it also detonate TNT?

Entertech also ventured into "Water Balloon Warfare" and made some nice improvements to them by including a portable pump so you could load your balloons while on the move. Then they really sunk their claws into the psyches of impressionable kids with the release of motorized Rambo guns!

I'M YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE.

The guns themselves weren't any different than the regular Entertech guns, but they had the words RAMBO written on the sides and even came with a Rambo Headband.

BAZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOKA

Throw in a friggin' BAZOOKA and kids were buying these things faster than they could make 'em. There really is no greater feeling than running around the neighborhood with a Rambo headband and a bazooka on your shoulders while screaming at the top of your lungs. If you've never experienced the sensation, I suggest you all do so in the near future.

As fun as the motorized water guns were, Entertech wouldn't be on top for long. Besides costing more money than basic water guns, you had to constantly change batteries for these things, which of course meant more money. The other problem was, Entertech's guns looked a little too real.

Aim this at cop for a good time! Bring this one onto an airplane for a chuckle too!

I mean just look at those things. They're near perfect replicas of an uzi and a machine gun. If you were to walk up to a cop with one of these, you could pretty much kiss your ass goodbye. There were actual cases where kids were being shot by police because of how realistic these guns looked. I don't think anybody ever had that kind problem with the Popeye water pistol. Sadly, due to some law changes, Entertech had to modify the look of their guns to hideous multi-colored neon atrocities. By that time, sales were dropping and the company appeared to be pretty desperate because they were releasing basic water toys such as the Freddy Fright Squirter and the Super Mario Bros. Squirter. Oh how the mighty had fallen.

Disappearing ink? Yes. Reappearing in detention? Yes.

While they're not technically a water guns, here's a short-lived series that some of you may remember. Zap-It guns were pretty popular around 1988. Instead of shooting water, these basic guns were made specifically for the prankster in all of us. They were loaded with blue or red disappearing ink for you to piss off friends, parents, and school teachers with. I swear, everybody in my school had one of these things, and every last one of us got sent to detention at least once for using them during class. Good times.

I'm rich and you're not.
Lonnie Johnson - inventor of the Super Soaker

Anyway, the true "nail in the coffin" for Entertech wasn't because some kids got shot by cops... it was because of Lonnie Johnson's creation of "Super Soakers" (originally named "Power Drenchers"). Released in 1990 and still being produced today, the Super Soakers revolutionized water guns forever by using compressed air to shoot out powerful blasts of water. They could hold much more water, could shoot it farther, and didn't require any batteries. Quite simply, if you got shot by one of these, you were drenched in water from head to toe pretty damned fast.

BEWARE ALIENS! WE NOW CONTROL YOUR TECHNOLOGY!

In the past decade, the Super Soakers have continued to evolve into things that look like they're more suited for battling invaders from Mars than getting your pals soaking wet. As cool as these Super Soakers were, I always thought they took all the sport out of water gun battles. It was no longer about who was the best shot, it was now simply about who's mom bought him the most expensive insano-powerful water blaster on the market. You weren't carrying around water pistols that needed refills here 'n there anymore... you were now carrying friggin' aquariums. And what chance did the kids who didn't have one of these new portable water cannons stand? They only had one hope left...

Ol' Bessie... THE EQUALIZER.
Ol' Bessie.

the end.

-RoG-

(note: big thanks to Matthew Zucker for letting me use his kickass photo of the water gun in
the title graphic for this page. Be sure to check out his site for more impressive photography.)


BONUS:
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE ORIGINAL
ENTERTECH WATER GUN COMMERCIAL!

 


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