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One Fan's Quest to Make the Perfect Light Gun for 2023 Continues

Since 2019, the Sinden Light Gun has been the first and only contemporary light gun that will work on modern TVs and displays. Yet despite the technical achievements made, its creator, Andy Sinden, is aiming higher to make this a product not just an easy way to play your favorite light gun games on an high-definition TV, but to fully revive a niche and otherwise forgotten sub-genre of games.

“My development priorities for the Sinden Light Gun is all about adding support to more hardware, emulators, and games. So finding ways to work directly on old consoles such as NES, PS2, and Dreamcast and supporting more systems good for emulation systems like Steam Deck and MiSTer FPGA,” Sinden explains. “Working with emulator developers to add light gun support to new emulators, working with developers and publishers to put more and more games on Steam that can work with light guns such as the recent
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Sinden’s ultimate goal is to have these devices work natively on old and new consoles, including the Xbox Series X/S and PS5.

“Initially, for the project, I was hoping one of the big console companies like Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo would reach out for a partnership, but that hasn't happened yet, although I always remain hopeful,” Sinden explains. “Modern console gamers deserve to be able to all their favorite light gun games."

Originally released back in 2020, the Sinden Lightgun continues to be a work-in-progress. We checked in with Sinden about his plans for the future.

The Magic Behind the Sinden Light Gun

The Sinden Light Gun is touted as the first true light gun to work on modern TVs, but it also works on CRT TVs, too. It contains a built-in 480p webcam and is functional thanks to its own software. The software allows the peripheral to add a thin border to your display, allowing the light gun to use the border to visually calculate where you are aiming.

Outside of the 480p webcam, the Sinden Light Gun also includes a lengthy five-meter cable, two remappable buttons on each side, and a D-Pad on the left side of the light gun. There’s a pump on every Sinden light Gun that can be used to reload the gun, along with an option to buy a light gun with or without recoil. The latter costs a little more but the recoil system can be toggled to be activated when you want, such as pulling the trigger or feeling the jolt through the light gun every time you pump it.

Modern console gamers deserve to be able to all their favorite light gun games

While this seems like a fix-all problem for those looking to dust off their Dreamcast, the biggest caveat aside from a hefty $105 starting price tag, is the Sinden Light is compatible primarily with PC, Linux, and Raspberry Pi. You can’t plug the USB-A port into your older consoles and expect it to work instantly.

The Light Gun does add support for the PS1 and PS2, but you need to install the latest stable software release and follow a detailed list of instructions before you can get it to be fully functional. While
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allow the light gun to work on other devices, such as the Steam Deck.

Sinden told IGN that support for older consoles is “very much on the roadmap.” Next year, Sinden plans to add full support for the PS1, PS2, and even the original Xbox using a plug-and-play adapter, noting that these consoles were easiest to convert the peripheral’s compatibility.

In 2025, the goal is to have the light gun working natively on Dreamcast, NES, and Saturn.

The Ultimate Goal

Ultimately, Siden’s goal is to “fully bring back the light gun genre,” as the sub-genre of shooting games has remained dormant for far too long.

Nowadays, light gun games are obsolete, especially on consoles, since these accessories are not compatible with modern HD TVs. While we have had some hybrid alternatives such as the Wii, the PS3’s GunCon, and Move controllers, and more recently, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons. Though the latter requires less precision than the offerings from the seventh generation, the heavy reliance on gyroscopic sensors to aim at your targets is not as precise.

“The major goal of the Sinden Light Gun project is to fully bring back the light gun genre to modern gaming by showing that good light guns without any extra hardware complications are possible on modern televisions," Sinden says.

Sinden isn't there yet, but his hope for a revival remains.

Taylor is a Reporter at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter
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