The Wii Zapper accuracy review

Yeah, I know…it’s a little late to do the end of day thought. I’ll be a good guy though and still give you the thought, just without the label.

I’ve been seeing tons of debates centered on the Wii Zapper. Some people love the accessory, while others can’t stand it. There really are some reviewers out there that absolutely hate the product. Personally, I really do enjoy the Zapper. I think it is a fun addition to the Wii accessory lineup. That’s all well and good, but does the Zapper actually make playing games easier? We’ve all held toy guns before, so for those possible expanded audience consumers that were intimidated by the Wiimote, perhaps something like this would make more sense. It basically is a toy gun that you point at your TV. I don’t see the Wiimote as a mind-boggling controller, but I guess a toy gun is even easier. Point and shoot in a toy gun shell would make more sense than pointing and shooting a TV-like remote with a trigger…at least to those that haven’t even tried the Wii yet. What was Nintendo’s real motive in making the shell? I have absolutely no idea…and that’s why I am not working for R&D. Regardless of that, the shell is here and it’s time to do some accuracy testing.

Back to the shell Zapper making games easier. I’ve also been following arguments about this. Some people claim they have much better accuracy while using the Zapper, and others perform better with the Wiimote by itself. I decided to get some of the warehouse gang together to see which control method they handled better.

The details of the test

- Link’s Crossbow Training level 3-2 was played twice by each person
- The player did the first round with the Zapper, the second round with just the Wiimote
- The player stood/sat in exactly the same position while playing
- Instructions were given out before the test began, and no help was given during these tests
- The scores at the end of each round were used to judge accuracy
- The more successive target hits in a row makes for a better chance at a higher score

Yes, indeed there is some credit to saying that you may do better the second time around simply because it is your second try at the game. I felt that this improvement would be minimal at best. The real results would come from the two different control schemes. If there was a big difference in accuracy and ease of use between the two, the scores should more reflect that instead of the “second time around” element. Of course, the test wasn’t super scientific by any means, but I felt it should at least provide some insight into the proposed question. The results of the test are below.

Mii characters do not match player in all instances. I’ve included headshots of each person in the score screens. The screen on the top is with the Zapper, the screen on the bottom is without.

Deux with Zapper, without Zapper


Lube with Zapper, without Zapper


RMC with Zapper, without Zapper


Nicky Hill with Zapper, without Zapper


Nintenho with Zapper, without Zapper


As you can see, 3 people did better without the Zapper and 2 people did better with it. The biggest decrease from Zapper to without would be me. The biggest increase from Zapper to without was Lube. Of the people involved, Deux’s scores hardly fluctuated between the two trials.

Nicky and I both agreed that we liked and performed better with the Zapper due to the added stabilization of your back hand. The hand on the back grip helps us to better pivot our hand, the the firmer trigger helped in our successive shots. Nintendo performed worse with the Zapper, but said that she actually preferred the feel of it. Lube much preferred the Wiimote by itself rather than the Zapper. Movement of the camera appeared to be much easier for him via Wiimote than Zapper. Deux said that either method of play was acceptable for him.

So after the results, we don’t really have a clear answer as to which really helps out more. There are too many other variables at play. The size of your hands and positioning on the Zapper can have a lot to do with control. There’s also a comfort issue for some with the Zapper, making play awkward. Our scores do show that more people did better without the Zapper than with, but Deux’s scores were so close that it kind of negates that point. I plan to do another test of a much longer term. For that test, I will be monitoring my accuracy over a certain span of days with and without the Zapper. Perhaps something like 5 days played with the Zapper, 5 without…but I would like to space those 5 day spans at the beginning and end of a month. That should provide an even better look at which provides a more accurate experience.

As I said, this wasn’t meant to be a end all to the debate. It was just an interesting test I thought I would try out. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the results!

Categories: Reviews, Consoles
Tags: wii


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