Friday, June 24, 2011

Famicom Light Gun and Wild Gunman: Yipee Ki-Yay M------- F-------.

The censored words in the title of this post are actually just "My Famicom". Not sure why I felt the need to block them out like that.

Anyway, my visit to the other Omocha Souko yesterday turned up more than just the Luigi Mosaic. I bought something too. A good thing.

At the front of the store they have a pile of old consoles. Among the Mega Drives and Nintendo 64s I found this guy snuggly nestled, awaiting purchase:
This is the Famicom light gun, the original NES zapper.

I have been searching for one of these for the longest time. Its been a craving of mine. I had maintained fantasies about finding one in a junk bin for 100 yen or something, but 2 and a half years of fruitless searching has convinced me of the futility of that dream. These things are HARD to find. Yesterday was the first time I had ever seen one in person.

So I was quite pleasantly surprised to see it there. The price was 3,000 yen (about 35-40$ US) and, as you can see, they bundled it with a copy of Wild Gunman. The box was in great condition and they said it was in working order, so how could I resist?

Opening it up, this is what I got:
Love at first sight:
I had the zapper for my NES (still have it, in fact), but this thing is just a million times better. According to the tales of internet lore, American safety regulations prevented Nintendo from making the zapper look like a real revolver, so they made that kind of generic space gun looking gray thing for the NES. I like the revolver look way better though.

I mean, when I popped Wild Gunman in for a go, I actually kind of felt like I was in the old west with this thing. Well, just a bit - my living room looks nothing like the old west (except for the dust). Still though, its way more fun to be blowing away gun shooters with an old west 6 shooter than some gray "zapper". You can even cock the hammer on this thing.
The box is great too. On the back it has a very complicated diagram. If you look closely you'll notice that the only useful information this thing conveys is "plug it in." I guess they had to put something back there:
The front of the box is great too. Its got a little cowboy in the lower left corner shooting at a TV. It looks great on my shelf, I put it right in front of my bottle of whiskey for that added touch of the old west:
The other thing I really like about this game is that it was featured in Back to the Future II. Apparently the filmmakers took some liberties as the arcade cabinet they show in the film didn't exist and the gameplay they show is a bit different from the actual game. Still though, take a look at that gun Marty McFly uses to shoot the bad guys. Spitting image of the Famicom light gun!

Not only can I pretend to be an old west gunslinger, I can also pretend to be late 80s Michael J Fox. Sweet!

Anyway, I'm quite happy with this thing. It is one of the rare times when I buy something and it turns out to be every bit as good as I thought it would be (Family Trainer - that barb is directed at you).

Related Posts:
- Famicom Cart Mosaics: The Luigi Wall
- Mega Bargain of the Day: Family Basic, Family Trainer and Climber Stick


  1. Oh, man! I am *jealous*!! I've been slobbering over this thing for a while on eBay, but haven't yet gotten up the nerve to buy it. I'll get there someday, though, and I'll buy copies of Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley and Wild Gunman along with it -- mark my words! In the meantime, I'll just ogle yours :)

    The box yours came in is sweet, BTW. I especially love the little cartoon in the lower-left corner.

  2. Yes, Bryan!! Absolutely get one of these things off of Ebay if you find one for a reasonable price, they are great! That cartoon on the box really is neat, isn't it?

    I played a bit of Hogan's Alley on it too, it works great for that as well.

    Incidentally I just discovered that, of the almost 700 different Famicom games I own, somehow Duck Hunt is not among them. It is one of the most common carts out there, but I don't have it. Gives me something to look for though:)

  3. How funny that you don't yet have Duck Hunt! I'm willing to bet you'll have it soon, though -- esp. since it can't be too expensive at this point :)

  4. Yup, its a cheap on, maybe 1-2$ or so. I will have it soon. Though actually, having played it on the NES a lot, I have to say that I think Wild Gunman and Hogan's Alley are a bit more fun.

  5. Nice! I never knew such a thing existed. The only thing I've seen that is close are the Lethal Enforcers guns(but those are pink and blue). I have to say the label for the Famicom version of Wild Gunman is way cooler than the NES release. Nice score, Sean!!

  6. It's funny. While NES Zappers and such are really common in the US. They seem to be really rare in Japan. To be honest, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a copy of Duck Hunt for Famicom "in the wild." While in the US, they basically give away copies of the Mario/Duck Hunt cart.

    I also found this CM:

    Pretty basic, but I dunno, I love old commercials. I like how they use the kanji for Nintendo too.

  7. Thanks, Jason. Those Lethal Enforcers are cool, though they are for the Super Famicom. They are also more Dirty Harry style than this light gun:)I love the Japanese Wild Gunman label art too.

  8. Nate - that commercial is aweseome. I wish I had that holster for the gun, it would be so cool. I think mine is the basic version!

    I guess the NES zappers are so much more common since they were mostly bundled (that is how I got mine). If they werent't, they'd probably be as difficult to find as the Famicom guns are.

    Duck Hunt isn't too hard to find in the wild. I've seen it a few times at shops, mostly priced as a "common" cart at 200-300 yen. Its definitely much harder to find than the US SMB/ Duck Hunt cart, but not too hard.

  9. I'd never even thought about the Famicom light gun, actually. I suppose it makes sense that it would be different from the NES one. I agree too, it must be MUCH nicer to use. My old Master System Light Phaser is a cross between the two - it's black but shaped like a 'ray gun'... :)

  10. Yeah, I had a friend with a Sega Master System way back when. I thought the black light phaser looked kind of cooler than the grey NES zapper. How were the zapper games on the Master System?

  11. There weren't many (at least in the UK) but there were a few good ones. It was worth having a Light Phaser for Operation Wolf alone! I believe it's the only version outside of the arcades that's playable with a light gun :)

  12. Ah, I used to have Operation Wolf for my NES, that was a great game. I usually played it with the controller rather than the zapper though.

  13. Ohh, I didn't think about the NES. Is it playable with the Zapper then? :P

  14. Yeah, you can play it with either the zapper or the controller on the NES. I seem to remmeber only playing it with the controller though, it must have been easier that way!

  15. Saw one on eBay here:

  16. Much belated comment here, but the game from Back to the Future II actually is an arcade game. Nintendo released some of its famous NES games to an arcade format, called PlayChoice-10, which sometimes included games like Mario Bros., Hogan's Alley, and yes, Wild Gunman.

    1. Actually the Wild Gunman in the movie was more likely the Vs. System given how crazy different it was from the actual game - Playchoice-10 was literally just the games on an arcade machine, you'd pay money to play the game for such-and-such amount of time.

  17. Interesting, I would very much like to play on one of those someday!

  18. I got one for $3.99 complete with box (not so bad condition),holster mint condition, boxed wild gunman cartridge and manual just last week .. tested it and it works :)