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Universal "game gun" with plug adapters for older consoles

Game gun that will work with newer TVs, but can hook up to older game consoles
  [vote for,

I no longer own a picture-tube based TV, and I have several "game guns" that are, sadly, not compatible with HDTVs.

Newer game consoles have different types of guns that are compatible with HDTV setups, some of which use sensors placed around the screen instead of "scanning" the actual screen image. Also, some game guns use a system where the screen blanks out and the targets become white squares. In this case, it's not TV specific-it'll work with anything as long as the screen is bright enough.

But people with older gun-based games are left in the cold, because the newer guns only work with newer game consoles, so it won't help if you want to play a Sega Genesis with a gun- you're stuck with "the old tubes"

You see, the older guns (or any gun that only works on tube TVs, i.e. the non-hd-compatible ones) are that way because, to sense where you're shooting, the screen blacks out, and then it goes white for a split second. due to the nature of tube TVs, the white flash "scrolls/scans" from the top down to the bottom of the screen. the gun senses how long it takes for it to see white. the longer the delay, the lower it is on the screen. this wont work with LCD displays/plasma screens or anything along those lines, because, unlike tubes, they don't "Scan" the image from top to bottom.

But, what if someone made a game gun that was based on sensors placed around the TV, but, it had a switchable plug adapter (similar to those universal AC adapters) to accomodate older game consoles that originally relied on the "scanning display" method of Game-gun aiming. There would be a knob to select what type of console the game was hooked to, and depending on the setting, the gun would be set up to simulate the older tech so that the console would still recognize it.

Having it be this universal would get expensive, though, so possibly it may end up being only compatible with one console- or one manufacturer, for that matter.

Another possible solution would be to have some sort of box that would plug between the console and the TV, and it would "scan" the picture just as it would on a normal "tube" display. In this case, you could still use your existing guns (assuming they were still functional, otherwise you could get a used one-controllers for older consoles are likely dirt cheap nowadays)

I think that a market would exist for this, even if it were limited. I have a PS1 with some gun games, that are apparantly based on "tube-scanning" because they wont work on my LCD display. I can find HD compatible guns for PS2, but I can't seem to find any that are backwards compatible with PS1 games.

Dickcheney6, Jul 28 2008


       Yes, [+]. This is the sort of thing i wish would never change. The Odyssey used to use this system, and so did light pens.   

       However, forgive my ignorance, but how do you plug an old games console into a new TV? We had this problem with what you would call a Sega Genesis and spent forever looking for an appropriate cable, but it was not to be. You could presumably make one or cut a hole in it to wire it up, but it's surely very hard. I have a Tandy Color sitting in the corner right now which i can't use for this reason.
nineteenthly, Jul 28 2008

       A good, interesting idea.
Texticle, Jul 28 2008

       The genesis uses a 3-wire system, one (yellow) for video, and 2 for the stereo sound(left channel=white, right channel=red). I know of very few TV's I've seen that DONT have these inputs, and those that I have seen have been one of these 3 things- 1. VERY old 2.cheap 3. a battery operated TV or some combination of these things. So I believe you'd have no trouble hooking a genesis to the TV. I believe it's called a "composite" video cable? I honestly dont know what it's called. A Y/Bp/Pr (or whatever the heck it's called, 3 cables for video, 2 for audio, it's a higher quality cable by comparison) was most likely never produced, because the consoles didn't have the quality that would call for such a cable.
Dickcheney6, Jul 28 2008

       The Wii controller transmits two infra-red dots toward a "sensor bar" placed just below the screen, and reads the reflection. This gives the system enough information to place an aiming cursor onto the game graphics. It's not an exact "aim", more of a ratio of the controller's position (hence the cursor). If a given game has an on-screen cursor (some don't), a similar device might be made to fit many game machines. Any PS2 controller can connect to XBOX, PC USB, or (I think) Gamecube with an inexpensive adapter, so that's a good start.   

       But could that Wii-style controller connect to an old-fashioned original game gun, with a simulated composite signal (and strobe, whatever necessary) to "trick" it into working properly?
Amos Kito, Jul 29 2008

       {[Amos], the Wii controller is actually the IR camera - the "sensor bar" is a misnomer.}
Jinbish, Jul 29 2008

       Thanks, [DickCheney], that would've been useful info a few months ago before we gave up trying and put it on Freecycle. It's never occurred to me before that the Tandy Color actually has a composite video interface and so do our disabled tellies.   

       Incidentally, since we live in the UK, we destroyed the aerial sockets on the TVs in order to avoid paying the licence fee, so we can't do the simple thing.
nineteenthly, Jul 29 2008

       How do old guns sense horizontal position?
david_scothern, Jul 29 2008

       Some only sense whether it's pointed at the target or not (when u pull the trigger, the screen blacks out, and the targets remain on screen, and if there's more than one, they flash in very fast succesion, so that the gun can tell which target it's pointed at) This would work with any TV provided that the screen is set to a reasonable brightness   

       For the "tube scanning" guns (the ones that only work with tube tvs) keep in mind that the tube "scans" from the top left corner, across the top row of pixels, and down one row when it reaches the end of the row. The scan across takes some amount of time, however short, and the gun measures how long it takes for the white to appear. This is more accurate but only works with tube-based displays.   

       I have a nintendo Wii, which, as you may know, is based on sensors placed around the screen rather than "tube-scanning". However, it seems to be somewhat inaccurate, because often the cursor shakes or doesnt get to the edges of the screen, or randomly disappears, even when the controller has brand new batteries! Worse, the controller seems to pick up visible light as well as infared beams from the sensor bar, so in order for it to work I have to turn off ALL the lights! to give you an idea of how sensitive it is, I had to move the cable box because the teeny tiny power lamp was causing my controller to malfunction- to the point where it was unusable!   

       I think that all game guns should just use the "flashing colored block target" method- it would still work with basically anything. Sure, it wouldn't have the pointer constantly following where you were pointing, but it would still make it's target. All you'd need to do is adjust the brightness of the TV to where it works.   

       One more thing, what I was thinking was that there could be a box that would simulate the scanning of a tube TV- in other words, it would go between the game console and the TV hookup (you plug the console into the box, and the box into the TV) and the box would scan the picture across the screen just as a tube would. Then you wouldnt need a new game gun, you'd just use the existing gun, and this would involve no modding of the console or the gun.
Dickcheney6, Jul 31 2008


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