For how much of a cultural phenomenon light gun games like Duck Hunt were, they didn’t survive the transition from CRT televisions to LCDs particularly well because of all of the technological quirks the light guns exploited in older technology that simply disappeared with modern TVs. But it’s not impossible to get a similar gameplay from modern technology as evidenced by the success of the Wii and its revolutionary Wiimote, and there are plenty of modern games that use similar devices. There are a few paths to getting older light guns working again, though.
The first system to note, called SAMCO, uses a system of LEDs and a camera to synchronize the game’s flashes to the new technology and translate the input back into the game. Gun4ir uses a similar technique, and boasts extremely high accuracy and low latency largely due to being programmed in assembly. Both systems can use either an infrared tracking sensor or a Wiimote sensor as the LEDs and while the SAMCO system can run on a Raspberry Pi Pico, Gun4ir exclusively uses ATmega32U4 boards with the optimized assembly programming.
Both SAMCO and Gun4ir offer PCBs for anyone looking to try them out without designing their own circuit boards, and once the electronics are assembled they can either be put in an original NES-era light gun, put in a custom printed enclosure, or even stuffed into a Nerf gun. For others looking for a more turnkey solution, there are also offerings from companies like Sinden which make complete system. You can always build your own system to restore the functionality of original light guns from scratch if that’s more your style.
Thanks to [LookAtDaShinyShiny] for tipping us off to the latest happenings in the light gun community!
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons