Police have arrested a South Carolina man after he allegedly robbed a convenience store armed with a Nintendo light gun primarily used in the 1980s to play Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley and Gumshoe, as originally announced by York County deputies. The 25-year-old suspect allegedly made away with $300 in cash after donning a mask, wig, hoodie sweatshirt and the aforementioned Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Zapper gun accessory.
Police allege the suspect waved the fake gun at a clerk and demanded money from the cash register. Authorities found him down the street in a Dollar General parking lot with the fake pistol in his pants. The original 1984 accessory is famously bright orange and gray, but authorities say the suspect spray-painted his black, likely so it would resemble a functional firearm. The York County Sheriff’s Department released an image of the doctored gaming accessory on its Twitter account.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) May 31, 2023
The original light gun accessory, called the Zapper, shipped with the NES and used an internal optical sensor to translate trigger presses to on-screen action. The primary use was Duck Hunt, though it worked with a handful of titles throughout the console’s lifespan.
Using a fake gun to commit a crime is no joke and has been a serious issue for decades. A 1990 study conducted by Congress found that fake guns were used in more than 15 percent of robberies. It’s worth noting that in most parts of the country, using a fake gun to commit a crime carries similar penalties to that of a real firearm, as the threat of danger is very real to victims. After all, these toy or replica guns look nearly identical to the real thing. To that end, New York State recently passed legislation banning toy guns unless they are clearly fake, such as those painted with bright colors.