Soon, You’ll Be Able To Play Duck Hunt On Modern TVs

Soon, You’ll Be Able To Play Duck Hunt On Modern TVs

The NES Zapper light gun peripheral is an unfortunate victim of the relentless march of technology, rendered inoperable on modern flat-screen televisions. Retro console and peripheral maker Hyperkin aims to solve that problem with the Hyper Blaster HD, an NES light gun for the modern age.

The Zapper doesn’t work on modern televisions because the technology Nintendo used to create it relied on the dependable timing of old-school cathode ray tube televisions. Instead of actually shooting anything, the Zapper is a light sensor.

When the trigger is pulled while playing Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley, or any of the handful of Zapper-compatible games, the television screen goes black for a single frame. Then, any viable targets on the screen appear as white boxes for another frame, before the game goes back to rendering as normal. If the Zapper detects the white boxes within the center of its sensor array, it registers a hit.

Modern televisions don’t have a consistent draw rate, so the Zapper won’t sync up with the screen properly. This renders Nintendo’s classic peripheral useless.


The Hyper Blaster HD, being demonstrated this week at CES in Las Vegas, uses a special HD adaptor to sync its sensor with the television it is attached to, making the old black-and-white screen trick work once more. One caveat—the Hyper Blaster HD requires an original NES console to function. Third-party retro consoles, even those made by Hyperkin, will not work.

There’s no pricing or release date yet for the Hyper Blaster HD, but that’s fine. We’ve been waiting this long to play Duck Hunt on our flat screens, so what’s a few more months?


  • All well and good, but the game itself is pretty lame and shallow. Some things are best left where they were and let the memory live on instead.

      • There were much better shooters out there at the time – obviously most were arcade. Operation Wolf for starters. It didn’t resonate with me and that is a personal opinion down to taste. I thought the game was very cheesy and too “childish” for me.

  • And don’t get me started on Hogan’s Alley!!! If it worked with Point Blank of House of the Dead then we have something!!!

  • If this technology exists, why not use it for something more?

    I’d love a collection of Sega or Namco light-fun arcade games on a modern console.

    • If a proper time crisis or house of the dead came out on ps4 with a proper light gun I’d insta buy.

    • There were a bunch of games of that style that came out for the original Wii and PS3 Move. It’s quite different tech, but achieved similar goals. There were a bunch of Time Crisis games, and House of the Dead Overkill.

      • I hated that of all the light gun games that there were on Wii, it was only two HotDs (Overkill and 2&3 Returns) that let you calibrate the motion pointing 1:1 with the screen and turn off the cursor as far as I’d seen or can remember. Aside from finding them to be more of a distraction than anything, I just found moving a cursor around on screen to be nowhere as interesting or entertaining as trying to actually line up the shots with a good gun shell.

        And then I don’t think we got any more with the Wii U, now we’re stuck with the Switch which doesn’t have pointer controls any more. Blah. Really need to dust off the VR set, Dead & Buried was great fun.

        • Fair enough. I was playing on the PS3, where the Move provided quite good motion tracking for these games. I don’t remember if there was an option to turn off the cursor, but once you’d calibrated the controller to your screen at the start of a session it stuck pretty well. The combination of camera, digital compass and gyros gave fairly accurate position and orientation tracking.

          • I only played a little bit of the PS3 Overkill at… I think it was EBX. It still had the calibrated-no-cursor thing, but it lost calibration shortly after setting it so didn’t leave that great an impression 😛

          • I don’t remember having much trouble with the PS Move in my living room. I guess either (a) my aim sucks and I didn’t notice, or (b) something in the convention setting was throwing off the calibration (excess motion in the background confusing the image processing?).

            I mainly played House of the Dead Overkill using the pistol shell for the controller, and never felt like I was fighting the hardware.

      • The majority of Wii light-gun games rely on the motion sensor to move a cursor on screen. It’s a pretty horrible experience, in my opinion.

        The old way of doing it felt a lot closer to the arcade experience.

        I remember loving my Sega Saturn with two light guns, and Virtua Cop 1 and 2. If someone can offer a similar, albeit modernised experience; preferably wireless…they can name their price.

        • I’m not sure about that. The only game I can think of like that was Skyward Sword which used a gyro-based cursor instead of the pointer controls with the IR camera like other games. The quality of the pointer could vary greatly with how much smoothing they applied though, that could lead to a pretty significant amount of lag between your movements and the motion on screen.

          • I think you’re right.
            Either way, it never felt as responsive as the old light-gun games did.

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