Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Turn your old-school NES Zapper into a working (and ridiculously powerful) laser gun

In terms of video game accessories, few items can match the iconic nature of Nintendo's NES Zapper.  Although it only supported a handful (18) of games, the most popular of which came pre-bundled with the Nintendo Entertainment System itself, the Zapper holds a fond place in the memories of 8-bit gamers.

Sadly, time was not particularly kind to the Zapper.

Despite its trademark "P-kang!" firing noise, consumers were not terribly interested in a light gun that let them shoot virtual ducks on their screen.  Demand for the Zapper plummeted, developers chose not to waste their time and resources on it, and after a failed attempt at a next-generation revival, the Zapper was relegated to an ignoble retirement in basement playrooms at grandparent's houses across the nation.

Yet the futuristic, 1980s sci-fi design of the Zapper had always been destined for greatness.  After two decades of neglect, that greatness has finally been realized at the hands of a hack/maker collective North Street Labs who turned the humble NES Zapper into a completely overpowered 2W laser.

2 Watts may not sound like much in the grand scheme of lasers, but for sake of comparison a strong laser pointer hovers in the ranger of 5 milliwatts.  This build is roughly 400 times as strong and is at least 500 times as badass.

Using relatively basic components, North Street Labs provides a pictorial guide on how to complete this hack in your own home, provided that you have the right setup.  The Zapper itself can be purchased via ebay on the cheap, but you're on your own when it comes to buying the ridiculously powerful 2W laser diode.

With the right tools and materials, this build should cost you under $100... and your eye if you're not careful.

Image source: North Street Labs