Friday, May 18, 2012

Nintendo Jumping Bottle (ジャンピングボトル, 1970)

One of the coolest targets in Nintendo's Kôsenjû SP (光線銃SP) series of light beam toys, is the so-called Jumping Bottle (ジャンピングボトル).

Gun practice often seems to involve shooting at cans and bottles, and this toy delivers just that, without the messy shattered glass.

The Jumping Bottle was sold as loose target, to be used together with a Kôsenjû SP Gun or Riffle sold separately, as well as in a set with a gun.

Jumping Bottle was the only Kôsenjû SP target that was available in such a set; all other targets (like Electro Safari and Electro Bird, and Electro Poker) were sold loose only.

The Jumping Bottle was released in 1970. The set shown here was called the Gun - Bottle Set (ガン・ボテル セット), and cost ¥3,480 at the time.

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Gun - Bottle Set (1970)

Contrary to the idea given by the image on the front of the box, the set contains only a single bottle, not three.

Contents: Bottle 1 - Gun 1 (ボテル 1 ・ガン1)

The Kôsenjû SP logo is also printed on the side of the box.

Inside the box, we find the gun and the (plastic) Jumping Bottle, which consists of a top part and a bottom part. Batteries for gun and bottle are included.

The gun is the first generation Kôsenjû SP gun, with the white handle. It runs on two AA batteries.

The light source of the gun is a regular 3 volt bicycle bulb. Pulling the trigger releases a short flash of light, which is focussed through a lens at the front of the barrel.

Instruction Manual

The Jumping Bottle requires three batteries: two C size batteries (called UM-2 in Japan) and a 9 volt block (called 006P).

The batteries are placed in the bottom half of the bottle. This also houses the electronics, including the light sensor, and an electromagnet.

If the bottle is switched 'on', this electromagnet keeps the top half stuck to the bottom half.

When the light gun is fired at the bottle, and it is aimed correctly so the sensor detects the light, the electromagnet is switched off and a spring launches the top part of the bottle into the air. It jumps up about 20 to 30 centimeters, or so.

The Gun - Bottle Set which we showed at the top of this post isn't the first release of Jumping Bottle.

Another, earlier version exists that has a different box design. This version was only sold for a short period of time, and is much rarer.

Two differences stand out in the box art, compared to the later version.

The bottle itself is different, with a different label. [And note the small misspelling; one 'P' too many in 'Jumping'.]

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Jumping Bottle Set (1970)

The name is also different: Jumping Bottle Set (ジャンピングボトル セット). Nintendo must have changed this to Gun - Bottle Set for the later version, to make it more clear that a gun was included.

This version was also slightly cheaper, at ¥2,880.

The contents of the set are the same though: a bottle, a gun and batteries to power them.

As we will see in a more detail below, this version of the bottle worked somewhat differently.

It also was a little less power hungry. Besides the 9 volt block, it uses two AA batteries (called UM-3), instead of two C batteries.

The bottle is loaded by pushing the spring down and placing the top part on the bottom part.

Hitting the sensor in the bottle with the light from the gun releases the spring, and fires the top part into the air.

The manual shows how to hit the bottle via a mirror, by aiming at its reflection.

When we compare the two versions of the bottle side-by-side, the most striking difference is the label.

They both carry the "Jumping Bottle" name, as well as a Nintendo logo, but the later version claims to be a bottle of whiskey.

Behind the circular hole in the middle, the light sensor is visible.

First (left) and second (right) Jumping Bottle versions

Both versions have a copyright notice on the bottom of the bottle.

The shape of the bottle halves is also different. The first version has a wavy edge, and the later version is straight.

The jumping mechanism can be taken out of the bottle, by removing the screw that is visible on the bottom of the bottle.

This exposes the battery compartment.

The spring mechanism of the two bottle versions works quite different.

The spring type used in the first version may look familiar, as it was also used for the Nintendo Block Crater set from 1969.

This mechanism was a patented invention by Nintendo master engineer Gunpei Yokoi. A pair of clever clamps keep the conical piece on top of the spring down, and release it when the pin in the middle is pushed.

In the case of Jumping Bottle, the pin isn't pushed down, but rather pulled down, by an electromagnet that is briefly switched on when the target is hit.

Nintendo Block Crater (1969) uses the same spring mechanism

In the second version of the Jumping Bottle, the mechanism was replaced by a much simpeler construction, with only an electromagnet. Gone are the clever clamps and other moving parts. This made production easier and operation more fault-free.

The only drawback of this version, is the fact that the electromagnet needs to stay switched on continuously until the target is hit. Hence the bigger batteries required.

As mentioned, the Jumping Bottle was also sold as loose target, for people who already owned a gun or riffle. Just as the sets with the gun, two versions exist, with the two different bottle variants.

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Jumping Bottle Target (1970) - first version

Both are called Jumping Bottle Target (ジャンピングボトル ターゲット).

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Jumping Bottle Target (1970) - first version

The first version cost ¥2,000 and the second version ¥2,500.

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Jumping Bottle Target (1970) - second version

This second version of the target is the most common of all Jumping Bottle sets.

Nintendo Kôsenjû SP Jumping Bottle Target (1970) - second version

Below a portrait of the entire Jumping Bottle family is shown, with all four different sets.

For an introduction to the Kôsenjû SP series, check this previous post.


  1. Hi Erik- thanks for another great post. I'm a huge Nintendo fan and love reading about your collection. I check your site every couple of days. One thing that I really like is that you include the original price of each item. I was wondering if it would be possible if you could also put how much the item would be in today's dollars or euros? I'm not sure how difficult it would be to do that. I tried a couple times myself using a currency converter then an inflation calculator, but I don't think I was accurate. It would be interesting to see how much these items would be if they were sold today. Just a suggestion! Thanks for the great work!

    1. Hi Ben, and thanks your the feedback! Appreciated.

      I am not an expert on currency development nor inflation, but I like your suggestion about putting these original retail prices in perspective. Will think of something to do that.

      Maybe there are some readers out there that can help?