The History of Airsoft
Those interested in a new and exciting hobby will probably find much appeal in Airsoft games. Now, while this is definitely an exciting hobby and game, it is not exactly a new one. In fact, it has been around for many years and has developed a legion of rabid fans that recognize all the many benefits there are to the enjoyment of these games.
But, how did all this start? When did Airsoft games develop in popularity? Airsoft games are, primarily, warcraft and combat games. Such games have been around since the dawn of time. The development of Airsoft technology has allowed these games to develop into a more sophisticated and complex gaming adventure. Through the development of Airsoft guns, the ability to develop these games was made much easier.
The origin of Airsoft guns originates in Japan. In Japan, it is illegal for private citizens to own a firearm. However, replica firearms are perfectly legal and they had long since been available on store shelves in Japan.
In the early 1980's, a unique innovation was devised in the realm of replica guns. Specifically, manufacturers devised a BB gun that could project pellets through the use of a green gas canister. Basically, the release of the compressed gas through pulling a trigger would propel the pellets at high velocities and with precision accuracy. These guns became wildly popular in Japan and sold significantly well.
At first, these guns were primarily used for target practice. In time, however, the use of these guns expanded to include combative games. Yes, people began to shoot at each other! Through the development of plastic pellets, the ability to “shoot" an opponent removed severe injury out of the equation. This lead to the rapid popularity of a number of gaming clubs in Japan that were very enthused over the concept.
What fueled this popularity? There were many reasons that fueled the popularity of the games. Actually, it might not be a proper choice to use the past tense. Many of the same reasons that fueled the popularity of the games in the past are the same reasons that they are popular today. In particular, the influences of the popularity are rooted in military history, pop culture, strategy games, and active hobbies.
Many of the original fans of Airsoft gaming were young males enthralled by the mythical concept of the adventurous action hero. Of course, these same individuals make up a large number of the modern aficionados of the game but the popularity of the game has expanded to include individuals from a variety of different demographics.
While Airsoft guns and games may have started in Japan, the appeal of these games was not limited to any particular geographic area. Since the internet did not exist in the 1980's, news did not travel very quickly. As such, the popularity of these games started from the epicenter of Japan and then slowly spread to neighboring Asian countries.
In time, Airsoft guns and the concept of Airsoft gaming reached America and Europe in the early 1990's. Today, the popularity of Airsoft gaming has become far more popular than most ever assumed. There are multitudes of gaming clubs that congregate to perform under a variety of different concepts and rules. Much of this popularity has been fueled by the growth of paintball gaming, but Airsoft seems to appeal to those that find paintball sorely lacking in the reality that an Airsoft game can embody.
There are traditions for this sort of play that existed outside of Japan. Airsoft guns are similar to Airguns in a number of ways. Airguns involve using compressed air to fire projectiles. They are note a new concept as they were originally devised in the 15th century.
While they possess potential for self-defense and hunting, they paled in comparison to gunpowder based firearms. This led to Airguns losing much appeal although they were obviously appealing as a toy or replica weapon which is the status they rose to in the 19th century.
And, of course, the 20th century saw a huge explosion in Airgun popularity that never dissipated. The eventually development of Airsoft guns presented the more popular form of gas powered (Hence, soft air powered) projection.
The main difference between Airguns and Airsoft guns generally deals with power. Airguns deliver metal BB's at a velocity strong enough that they can be used for hunting. Airsoft delivers plastic BB's that are not powerful enough for hunting. They do, however, possess the versatility needed to play combat and wargames.
As previously mentioned, the popularity of Airsoft guns and Airsoft gun gaming has grown significantly due to the desire for a more realistic form of gaming. This is not a knock on paintball as paintball does require legitimate skill and strategy in order to be effective with. However, the game lacks the gritty realism that many military style Airsoft games entail. As such, Airsoft gaming attracts a fan base that seeks a little additional edginess and physicality that paintball embodies.
Has this helped or hindered the popularity of Airsoft gaming in the modern era? To a degree, the less combative aspect of paintball has made it much more accessible to the average person. This, in turn, shrinks the number of participants willing to give Airsoft a try. However, it would be inaccurate to say that Airsoft gaming lacks popularity. Today, thanks to the internet's ability to fuel communication among fans, Airsoft is growing wildly in popularity. Of course, the unique creativity employed by many gamers to craft brilliant concepts in the actual games has certainly helped fuel this popularity as well. In essence, it is this unique popularity that will ensure Airsoft gaming remains popular for many more years to come.
Airsoft guns are more than just mere replica toys. They are more than just items used for gaming. They are a literal cultural phenomenon that will not abate any time soon. So, look for the popularity of Airsoft guns and gaming to continue.