By Jason Venter | 09-24-2012 | 5:00PM
If you were a dedicated Nintendo gamer during the late 80s and early 90s, you might have noticed that there were multiple configurations of the popular NES Zapper device that allowed gamers to shoot digital ducks and clay pigeons in Duck Hunt (but not the snickering hound), or gangster artwork in Hogan’s Alley. One version—the cool version—was completely gray. A second version prominently featured neon orange.
The difference can be explained quite easily: sometime after the NES released, lawmakers grew increasingly concerned that blissfully innocent children would be incapable of telling the difference between a real gun and something like the Zapper. By way of legislation, toy makers were required to produce hardware that bore more obvious differences, the better to prevent tragedy if distracted parents left loaded pistols lying around the house in easy reach of their children.
Today, we look back at the Zapper and laugh. Clearly, it will never pose a danger to anyone or anything… or will it?
The people at North Street Labs recently posted a video showing a Zapper that is capable of doing some actual damage. Stick matches and innocent but pesky ants will stand no chance if they are caught in your crosshairs, because (after modification) you can use your Zapper to fire 2W laser shots.
You can watch the above video to see a modified Zapper in use. It’s pretty cool. If you’d like to make one for yourself, there’s also a detailed walkthrough that outlines the process while including plenty of warnings (for instance, you’ll want to equip safety goggles to protect your eyes, since the laser is capable of doing some real harm) and photographs.
The amount of work required to produce a laser-firing Zapper for your NES is substantial, and you’ll need a fair bit of extra gear. For instance, you’ll want batteries, a 445nm diode, a heat-sink, and access to a soldering iron (among other things). In other words, you’ll have to put a lot more effort into the project than the results probably warrant. Still, it’s hard to argue with the potential result of that effort.