Nintendo Wii Zapper review: Nintendo Wii Zapper

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Nintendo Wii Zapper

(Part #: RVLRRZPE) Released: Nov 19, 2007
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Inexpensive Wii accessory that brings new life to shooting games; includes Link's Crossbow Training.

The Bad Doesn't come with Wiimote or Nunchuk; first round of supporting games aren't blockbusters.

The Bottom Line While it isn't revolutionary, the Wii Zapper is a great Wii accessory--and for the price, you really are getting an excellent value.

7.0 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

If you grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System in your house, then you no doubt remember the Zapper, the gray (or bright orange) light gun that let you shoot at ducks, bull's-eyes, and banditos. After almost 20 years, Nintendo has brought the Zapper, at least in name, to the Nintendo Wii. It's available in stores today for just $20, and it includes a free game, .

Instead of a light gun, the Wii Zapper is a simple gun-shaped plastic shell that houses the Wii remote and nunchuk attachment for use in certain shooting games. Simple, curved, and white, the Zapper fits perfectly with the Wii's aesthetic. Despite its vague gun shape--it loosely resembles a Capone-era Thompson submachine gun)--the Zapper's profile is nowhere near as menacing as the original Zapper's. Frankly, it looks more like an abstract sculpture than a gun, all rounded and white with nary a sharp angle to be seen.

Underneath the curved, matte-white shell is a simple and comfortable device with few moving parts and no electronics. The Wii remote slides into an indentation in the top of the Zapper and clicks in place securely. The nunchuk attachment slides into a smaller notch on the back of the Zapper and stays in place thanks to two small plastic pegs. Once both devices are locked into the Zapper, you can keep the cord between them wound up and hidden thanks to a compartment inside the handle. This cord-winding and tucking will keep your Zapper nice and neat, but inserting and removing the corded nunchuk is a pain--you'll probably want to invest another $20 in a dedicated nunchuk that will remain permanently housed in the Zapper.

With both the Wiimote and nunchuk in place, the Zapper feels a bit more solid and comfortable. Your front hand has access to the trigger that sets off the Wiimote's B button, while your back hand has total control over the nunchuk. Even though it doesn't look like a gun, the Zapper at least feels a bit like one. Hold it in both hands, point the "barrel" at the screen, and let the Wii pointer do the rest.

You could simply hold the Wiimote in one hand, the nunchuk in the other, and play any Wii game as you normally would. But it's all about the ergonomics. While the Zapper doesn't add any meaningful or unique features to the Wii's control system, it provides a near-ideal grip for shooting games--the Zapper simply feels better than holding the remote and nunchuk normally. It doesn't offer quite the same experience as a genuine light gun, since you're still constrained by the Wiimote's sensors, but it still makes those games feel much more intuitive than the typical Zapper-less remote/nunchuk control scheme.

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