Drench With Power: A Super Soaker Retrospective

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You can't get much more classic than this.

Kyle and I touched on the Super Soaker during Episode 5 of the Too Much Awesome podcast, as well as during Kyle’s list of his Unattainable Toys from youth, but it’s summer now and along with that has unfortunately come heat. Fortunately for us kids and adults pretending to be kids, the Super Soaker still hasn’t gone out of style. So prepare for war because Super Soakers are getting their just desserts today.

A Historical Account of the Water Armory

As Kyle mentioned, the original version of the Super Soaker was called the Power Drencher, and yes, he’s correct in saying the world would be a very different place if we all had Power Drencher 300’s or something. Power Drencher works better as a Gatorade line, not a toy. God bless the Super Soaker folks for the foresight.

So we know it was originally called the Power Drencher, but who invented it? Well, the Super Soaker’s inventor is a man named Lonnie Johnson, a man that also worked for NASA. Naturally, the guy who invents the world’s most popular water gun has also worked on space shuttles. Only makes sense. Anyway, Johnson looked at the basic design of squirt guns at the time and realized, “Hey, these suck,” so he came up with an inexpensive method to use manually pressurized water tanks instead of simple squeeze or squirt triggers. The results are, as we all know, awesome.

Awesome like this kid, who's clearly rocking eight degrees of hardcore right now.

The Choices When Arming Up

Taking a look at the official Super Soaker line over the years has confirmed to me that as a kid there was indeed a number system in place to differentiate size and water-usage for each particular Super Soaker. The standard was the Super Soaker 50, but as Kyle pointed out, he got the Super Soaker 30 because his dad was a jerk. I honestly don’t remember which size I had, but it was just the right size to deliver a powerful drenching. Oh, I see where the name came from. Okay, carry on.

Anyway, Super Soaker expanded its line to include bigger and better guns that improved both the durability of the material and provided better water reserves. Larger water tanks and extra bulbs were added on some models, as well as an instant-fill nozzle on the front, allowing you to attach a special Super Soaker-reloading cap on a garden hose and then press your gun tip-first into the attachment, quickly refueling you for your water-based battle.

This is the standard Super Soaker these days. I don't know, kind of feels like it's missing something. Maybe ugly yellows and greens?

I always thought the biggest Super Soakers were the coolest, but they were really ridiculous when it came to water consumption. The Super Soaker 1 Million seemed like a fantastical toy, but I saw it get used every so often and realized it probably wasn’t that cool. Unless you had a flash-refueling tip on it, you weren’t doing much once you ran out of water. Like you have friends that’ll refuel you mid-battle? I don’t think so.

Apparently there is a whole subculture of Super Soaker aficionados that know how to modify your Super Soakers to provide a change to your liking. For instance, a very basic mod has you breaking off the aperture that regulates water output, meaning you can shoot a whole tank of water pretty much instantly. Or perhaps a more advanced but extremely useful mod, removing the pressure relief value and sealing the gap allows you to increase your Super Soaker’s power. Then again, you could fashion a larger reservoir tank to allow for more water to be fired before refilling. It’s just staggering to think about.

Since it’s probably going to remain hot out there, I’d recommend picking up a Super Soaker or two. Right now the most popular version is the Super Soaker Wars Rattler Water Blaster, though there are tons of new models to look into depending on taste. Now all we need is a Nerf article. I think I’ll make Kyle do that next week.

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Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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