[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The NES Zapper Diagram

January 5th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Nintendo NES Zapper diagram from Super Mario Bros. Duck Hunt Instruction Manual - circa 1988Plug it in, plug it in. (click for full image)

I love retro line art diagrams; this one has to be one of the best.

These two pages from the US Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt instruction manual (you can see both pages if you click on the image above — the small two dots in the middle are holes for a staple) illustrate the proper way to plug the Zapper light gun into your "Nintendo Entertainment System Control Deck."

Much fun can be had from doing that, of course — although I spent many hours in my youth cursing the laughing dog. My dad was first in our family to try to shoot the canine as he giggled at our Duck Hunting failure. Sadly, you can't.

NES Action Set Release Date

By the way, I've seen some sources say that the NES Action set, which first debuted the combo SMB/Duck Hunt cartridge, saw its first US release in November 1988. That is definitely not true, because my brother first got an Action Set for his birthday in June 1988.

Seeking to clarify this, I just did a newspaper archive search and found mention of the "Just Arrived" NES Action set in the April 14, 1988 edition of the Ukiah Daily Journal (from Ukiah, CA, of all places). That means the Action Set was available as early as April 1988.

So take dates you see on the Internet with a grain of salt unless they are coupled with a strong source (or better yet, collection of sources) behind them.

[ From Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt manual, 1988, p.23-24]

Discussion Topic of the Week: In your opinion, what's the best Zapper game for the NES?


See Also:
Disk Box Modern Art (RSOTW, 2014)
Simple IBM Instructions (RSOTW, 2013)
USB Instructions (RSOTW, 2013)
Game Boy is Twenty (RSOTW, 2009)



9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The NES Zapper Diagram”

  1. Jason Says:

    Funny, I was certain that I received the NES Action Set as a Christmas gift in 1987. I guess it's just a case of memory growing fuzzy as time goes by.

  2. Multimedia Mike Says:

    I'm trying to remember if I ever played another Zapper game beside Duck Hunt. Wikipedia provides a nice list. I guess Adventures of Bayou Billy was a good one. I recall that using the Zapper was much better than trying to do the shooting stages with the controller.

  3. Jim Says:

    Duck Hunt was probably the best Zapper game. Fun fact: old school light guns won't work on LCD or Plasma screen TV's since they're not bright enough for the light gun to pick up the signal off the TV.

  4. Moondog Says:

    I'm surprised there weren't more games that used the Zapper. From a hardware point of view, I figure if you were choosing one system over another, you'd probably consider the system that offers a wider choice of gaming options.

  5. technotreegrass Says:

    I'm torn between Wild Gunman and Duck Hunt. Can't blame the TV if you screw up in Wild Gunman, only yourself.

  6. Andreas Says:

    Definitely Gumshoe! Such an odd combo of platform adventure and zapper game.. Loved it!

  7. Benj Edwards Says:

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Hogan's Alley yet. It is a challenging and fun light gun game that my brother and I played quite a bit on the NES.

  8. Galactus Says:

    Trick: If you point ur Zapper to a Light bulb you will hit the target in most games. :D

  9. Mattel Aquarius Says:

    Freedom Force was the best NES Zapper game I had.

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