Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wii Zapper VS third-party gun shells

Starting this one early!

When the Wii Zapper was initially unveiled at E3 2006, it bared a striking resemblance to a standard shotgun. The Wii remote was housed in the barrel, and locked into the shell via an expansion port. The Zapper shell itself sported an analog stick and shoulder button, effectively replacing the Nunchuk. People loved it.

Then, at E3 2007, the final model was revealed, and opinions soon soured. The new Zapper shell (Pictured above) resembled a two-handled machine gun, with the Wii remote positioned over a plastic trigger. This additional trigger is in no way electronic, as it merely acts as an expansion to the Wii remote's existing B trigger. The back of the unit features a section for slipping the Nunchuk into, supposedly with a channel in which the cord is placed. This was certainly different from what we saw the year before.

People reacted angrily. Some attacked the Wii remote's odd positioning, while others expressed their dislike at the overall look of the product. Needless to say, when third-parties started showing off gun shells similar in design to that of the original Zapper prototype, many rejoiced. But are they any better than Nintendo's design?

First, I'll judge the official Wii Zapper. The new design may not resemble a real gun as much as some of the competition, but it does seem to be far more comfortable than most other shells. The two grips likely add a lot to stability and precision as well. Also, as I said before, there seems to be a little groove in which the Nunchuk cord can be tucked into, preventing it from getting in your way. I base this assumption on how the cord is positioned in the picture above.

Overall, the Zapper sports a pretty solid design. It looks pretty comfortable to hold, as well as lightweight. The trigger is placed in an easily reached position, and the buttons on the top of the Wii remote look fairly accessible. The only downside is that it doesn't closely resemble any common gun design. An easily excused fact, as Nintendo would likely want to keep the shell as unrealistic as possible, so as to not be associated with any gun violence. Definitely worth the $20 US, especially considering it comes with a free copy of Link's Crossbow Training.

2 in 1 combined light gun

Here's the most recently revealed gun shell, Brando's 2 in 1 combined light gun. This shell features a unique design quirk, in that the stock of the gun (Where the Nunchuk is) can be easily removed from the barrel (Where the Wii remote is) on the fly. Pretty neat idea, huh? One problem with this, however, is the fact that while the two halves are connected, the cord will be simply dangling there. This is obviously something Brando doesn't want you to know about, considering how it is conveniently avoided in the above photo. Also, due to the slightly larger distance between the plastic trigger and the Wii remote, it would be much harder to manipulate both the B button and the top controls of the Wii remote compared to the Zapper.

Overall, while the easy snap-apart design is somewhat convenient, Brando's latest effort leaves me unimpressed. The cord is sure to get tangled up in something (Most likely my cats) and the buttons on top of the Wii remote are near inaccessible. Not a bad design, but not as good as the official Zapper shell. Nowhere near worth the $18 US.

Sharp Shooter

Up next is Joytech's Sharp Shooter. This shell is pretty similar to Brando's 2 in 1, minus the detachable sections. Again, the cord looks like it will simply dangle there as you play, getting tangled in who knows what. Also, the trigger looks just about as far from the Wii remote as Brando's 2 in 1, but it's hard to tell for sure. It's likely still too far away for quick and comfortable access to the buttons located on top of the Wii remote.

Overall, the Joytech Sharp Shooter isn't that great of a shell. It has all the same problems as the Brando 2 in 1, but without the pull-apart functionality. Whatever this things costs, it's probably too much.

Wii Blaster

Hey, look at that! Another shell from Brando! This time around, it's the Wii Blaster. Again, it seems to have a terrible case of dangling cord syndrome. At least the Wii remote's face buttons are accessible in this model! Like Brando's 2 in 1, this also sports a unique feature, although it seems far less useful.

For some reason, Brando's Wii Blaster has the ability to split open, as seen in the picture on the left. What this could possibly be useful for is beyond me.

Overall, Brando's Wii Blaster seems just as useless as the rest. It looks clunky to hold, the cord just dangles, and the hinged design is just useless. Definitely not worth the $17 US.

So in the end, while the Wii Zapper may not be perfect, it's surely better than any other gun shell out there. Besides, it comes with Link's Crossbow Training, which sounds better every time I think about it. The Zapper wins this competition hands down.

The Duck Has Spoken.

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