many other platforms the Commodore 64
also has it's history of lightguns. Although not always known there are
various kinds of these lightguns that are not compatible with each
other. This makes it difficult to establish a decent set of games as
3rd party game developers (the once that do not produce the lightguns
themselves) are reluctant to develop games for a small amount of users.
So in short the lightgun game industry for the C64 never came of the
ground. But that does not mean that this technology has to be
forgotten. In the contrary, this website is meant to give more inside
information about these guns and how they work and the games you can
play with them.
But I have to be honest, most games are simply not good enough and could be considered "boring". But this doesn't mean that all lightgun games are boring. Operation wolf for instance is the perfect example of the arcade game brought into your home and it is this game that sparked my interest of the lightgun. My quest and passion for these games and this website, lies in the simple fact that I had a lightgun in my collection of C64 games. For many many years, but it never worked and I did not understand why. Then I noticed the website of Nicholas Coplin (http://www.64hdd.com/projects/c64-proj3.html#lightgun) that has a small item about lightguns and then it hit me... "wait a minute my gun is using the wrong games or it is working but using the wrong connections". So that started me to search for all information I could find about lightguns and started to experiment. And now I know that there are many kind of lightguns available for the C64. Fortunately they can be divided into 3 categories. Because there basically 3 different types of electrical connections used (trigger and sensor signal). Which gun is compatible with which game and how it should be connected is described in the table below.
Lightgun/pen support in VICE
The wonderfull emulator VICE (http://vice-emu.sourceforge.net) supports the lightgun/pen. To enable lightgun/pen support simply go to the settings menu and choose "lightpen" settings.
|Unfortunately VICE only supports 2 types of lightguns, the "Stack light rifle" and the "Magnum light phaser". The gun that is not supported is the "Gun stick", which is a pitty because the "Gun stick" games are very nice looking and playable games. However considering the limitted information about the technical details of the "Gun stick" I could find on the internet, I'm not surprised it isn't supported in VICE. All information I have, regarding the "Gun stick", was based on experimentation and technical knowledge of other existing lightgun systems.|
|Knowing how difficult it can be to find information about Commodore related lightguns (and the games), I've made all information that I have available for download: <click here to go to the download location>|
Personal project, the "3in1gun" (a.k.a. "One gun that does it all")The chance that you own all original lightguns is very small, so in order to play all these games on your C64 you could consider to modify a lightgun. Not your best looking and perfectly functional one, but a gun that wasn't used otherwise, we don't want to destroy historical treasures, do we? But there is no problem modyfying lightguns intended for another platform, the SEGA or NES perhaps (just joking, these are historical important too).
I had an unused gun that looked a lot like the Stack light rifle, but I'm sure that it wasn't because on the side there was written "Thundercolt". It also looks like the gun Audio Sonic, Hanimex and Roberts uses. Anywaythe text "Thundercolt" can't be clearly seen on the images I have of these systems, so I'm not sure to which game system my "stack light rifle look alike" gun belongs to. Also this model could hold a ammo clip as seen in another variaton of this gun. So this gun design has been used quite a lot. Anyway, I bought this gun on a fleemarket many many years ago, it had no box or anything else. It was just the gun. I bought it with the intention to make it work on my C64, but it ended up in box and came out almost 10 years later. To be modified into the 3-in-1-gun.
My intention was to create a circuit that makes it possible to build a gun that can be made to act as each of the 3 guns (Stack light rifle, Magnum light phaser, Gun stick). So that it would be possible to play all the games with only one type of gun. Wow! What a great idea... and only 30 years too late. <click here for more information>
This is not a lightgun...A device sometimes mistaken for a lightgun is the "gamma strike" package. This is a simple pelletgun (it shoot tiny balls) and a special target. And the idea is that you shoot at the target, which contains sensors and is connected to a computer. The computer keeps track of time and score in one game, and in another you need to shoot the target to defeat aliens. For a more detailed story behind this game visit the "Games that weren't" website: http://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/gamma-strike
- Nicholas Coplin (of the C64HDD website. This is his projects page: http://www.64hdd.com/projects/c64-proj3.html#eprom_cart ). Because he put this info on the web (speaking about the fact that the trigger button is not always connected to the lines you would expect it to be...) he inspired me to figure out all the details there are to know. And by doing so renewing my passion for this wonderfull input device.
- The VICE team (Link to emulator: http://vice-emu.sourceforge.net ) for putting in lightpen/gun support. This makes testing a whole lot easier.