Gaming Nexus (Review) Review by: John Yan, Published: Unknown
Easy to install, easy to use...
If you’ve ever wanted a light gun for your
PC, today’s review should please you. ACT Labs, maker
of a few light guns in the past, sent over their latest creation
to test out. The USB Light Gun has been in the making for three
years and will let you play those arcade shooters as they are
meant to be. Does it stack up to the test? Let’s find
The USB Light Gun consists of a gray plastic gun
with a nice cord length that runs into a box. The box holds
a VGA input for your monitor and another monitor cord, which
attaches to your video card. Finally, a USB cable runs from
the box to your computer. Setup was incredibly easy as all I
had to do was run the monitor into the box and run the monitor
cord from the box to my ATi Radeon 8500 card and plug in the
USB cable. All in all it took me around two minutes to have
myself a working gun for my PC. Not bad if you ask me.
The feel of the gun is pretty light and well balanced.
A soft rubber grip lines either side of the handle making it
easy and comfortable to hold. The trigger has a nice strong
feeling spring to it giving you a nice feedback when pulled.
When you pull the trigger, it sends a left mouse click to the
computer. On the left side of the gun is another button that
acts as the right mouse button. The other side features a slide
that when in one position lets you calibrate the gun. Sliding
it back returns the gun into normal mode.
Calibration of the gun is pretty simple. When
you put the gun in calibration mode, the computer screen turns
white. All you have to do is move the gun from each side of
the screen, back and forth and up and down. Afterwards, put
the slider back and you’re ready to go. You’ll have
to do it for each game you play but it’s not too bad since
calibration is quick and simple.
Is my aim off that much?
When I first received the gun to try out the first
program that came to mind to use it with was MAME. What better
program to test the gun out then the emulator with a bunch of
great old classic arcade games. I had a range of games lined
up separated by a few years that I ran through. So, I fired
up a few of the oldies to test the gun out with.
I had many fond memories of playing Duck Hunt
on the Player’s Choice machine at the local comic book
shop. Yeah I wasn’t one of the 99% of the kids at school
with a Nintendo. I had the Sega Master System instead. But I
digress. After calibration the gun worked pretty well most of
the time. Accuracy seemed good for the most part with the occasional,
“I know I shot that damn duck in the head!” scream
only to see it fly off the screen. While it can be attributed
to my aim being off, I know that some of them where because
the gun’s tracking thought I shot to off screen.
I came to the conclusion that the tracking thought
I fired off screen by going into Windows and shooting around.
95% of the time, the mouse pointer appeared where I shot. Being
that the trigger mimicked the left mouse button, I shot at a
few programs on my desktop to open them. During the course of
this testing, I sometimes saw my mouse pointer way off to the
edge of the screen after the screen flash from squeezing the
trigger. I tried a few sessions of just shooting the center
of the screen and various times the mouse would randomly appear
on some edge of the screen. I don’t know if it was my
unit or what but it was a bit annoying when playing games.
When the gun worked, it was a blast to play. Duck
Hunt, Hogan’s Alley, Crossbow, and on and on most of the
old games worked well. I had no luck with Terminator 2 though
and even though I followed calibration steps in game and with
the gun the game just wouldn’t work with it. There might
be an update to MAME by the time you read this article that
will allow the ACT Labs gun to work in that game though.
Is it a direct hit?
The gun does have a few limitations. First of
all, you can’t use the gun with an LCD screen. If you
don’t have a CRT monitor then you’re out of look.
Also, you can only have one gun attached to the computer at
a time. I would’ve like to play games like House of the
Dead with a partner but the design only allows for the usage
ACT Labs is no stranger to the PC light gun area
and they have a good product when it works fully. While I am
disappointed in the inability to use more than one gun and LCD
monitor incompatibility, the gun is fun to use if you enjoy
those types of games. It’s really cool to relive some
of the old classics by playing them the way they were meant
to be played. You’ll even find a list of web games that
you can use the gun with on ACT Labs’ site. Installation
and calibration is as simple as can be and there’s no
driver installation needed. If you’re looking for a PC
light gun to use, then ACT-Lab’s USB gun is the one for
you. At $30, it’s not at all expensive. Just be prepared
to deal with some accuracy issues on occasion.