The Zapper was a light gun accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It greatly helped to sell the Nintendo Entertainment System. Some of the games that used it were Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley, and Gotcha! The Sport. In Japan the Zapper was released as a realistic six-shooter.

But in America, due to government regulations, it was released as an unrealistic sci-fi gun, originally appearing in gray in 1985, but later changed to orange in 1989 as a result of a soldier who filed a lawsuit and sued Nintendo of America Inc., claiming that he had mistaken a gray NES Zapper for a real gun. The Zapper has been available as a standalone accessory in stores, as well as packaged with Duck Hunt in some regions.

Zapper proto

A prototype for the Zapper (lacking the handle grip). It was changed shortly before the launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

The gun was very accurate, using infrared technology to shoot onscreen objects. In total there were only 17 games for the NES that used the Zapper before it was discontinued in 1994. The next "gun" type item to be released by Nintendo was the Super Scope on the SNES.

Games that used the Zapper[]


In Captain N: The Game Master, the Zapper appeared as one of Kevin Keene's signature weapons.

Luigi is shown using the Zapper at the beginning of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode "Time Out Luigi".

The Wii, a Nintendo system released decades later, received the Wii Zapper peripheral. The Wii Zapper is a plastic casing for a Wii Remote with a Nunchuk that allowed players to hold the controller like a gun. The accessory was not technically or visually similar to a NES Zapper, but did facilitate point-and-shoot gameplay. It came bundled with the video game Link's Crossbow Training, though was also used in various other titles.

The N-zap weapons from Splatoon are based off it.

The NES Zapper also appeared as a spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.


  • A player can hold the gun up to a lightbulb and it will shoot anything on the screen. You can do this if your Zapper is having problems.
  • In 2023 a man in York County, South Carolina was arrested for allegedly robbing a Kwik Trip convenience store with an NES Zapper painted black.[1]

See also[]


  1. Beard, Brandy, "Deputies: York Co. man robbed store with ‘Duck Hunt’ pistol". CBS 3, 31 May 2023, Accessed 31 May 2023.