You may soon be able to use an NES-style light gun on modern TVs.
As you may know, the infamous NES Zapper peripheral is pretty much useless on modern televisions. The original version of the accessory (and many subsequent third-party light guns from that era) would register “shots” by making the screen go dark for a frame and detecting certain hitboxes that still register light. It was a neat trick for the time, but modern television technology doesn’t really play nice with that method.
That’s why hardware manufacturer Hyperkin (a company responsible for the Ultra Game Boy, the revived Xbox “Duke” controller, and many of our other favorite retro accessories) is working on a more sophisticated light gun peripheral for the modern age. Dubbed the Hyper Blaster HD, this accessory will let you play classic NES light gun games on modern televisions.
However, that’s not the most impressive quality of this peripheral. See, what separates the Hyper Blaster HD from similar accessories is that it actually uses the exact same “single frame of darkness” trick that the original NES Zapper utilized. This incredible effect is achieved via a system that recognizes the draw rate of the specific model of TV you’re using, while the original NES Zapper just assumes your television utilizes the once-standard draw rate of classic televisions. This allows the Hyper Blaster HD to faithfully recreate the experience of playing old NES games with the NES Zapper.
In fact, the experience is so authentic that you can’t use the Hyper Blaster HD with anything but an original NES. Not even the retro NES consoles that Hyperkin manufacturers will work with this peripheral. This means that you will also need the proper cables needed to hook up a classic NES to modern televisions. You’ll also have to accept that those games won’t be modified in any way to accommodate the benefits of modern televisions (as some third-party retro consoles and systems like the NES Classic typically do).
That’s a shame, but if you ever wanted to re-live the only proper way to play Duck Hunt (with a screen that flashes awkwardly) on a modern TV, the Hyper Blaster HD seems to be the way to go. Unfortunately, there’s currently no word on its price or release date.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.