It’s been a rough month for me, folks. Admittedly the drive to write wasn’t quite there for most of the month until fairly recently, and I do have some actual posts prepared to be published in October.
But for now, I’m gonna write a fairly short post. This is about something I found unexpectedly at a Goodwill. A rare relic of a bygone era. Probably one of the goofiest video game controllers I own. In a sense, this is part “here’s something interesting I own,” part “I Bought Stuff!”
No, this isn’t a super soaker or Nerf gun, though I can’t blame you for thinking that. This is the Silent Scope Light Rifle, a light gun made for the original Xbox. I bought this for $7, and in hindsight it probably was one of the more impulse purchases I made that I have a small bit of regret. I’ll explain why in a bit.
I won’t go into a long history about the genre as there’s much better places for such things, but here goes. Light gun games were all the rage during the 8 and 16-bit eras. Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, Lethal Enforcers, those American Laser Games that practically show up on every system like Doom or Resident Evil 4 does these days… They were fairly popular.
Then, oddly, it slowed down. At least, on home consoles. They still got light gun games, but at a much reduced rate. Some cases like Area 51 on the PlayStation didn’t even support a light gun, opting for PS Mouse support instead, which completely ruins the fun.
It was still thriving in arcades thanks to Time Crisis and later stuff by Raw Thrills like the infamous Target: Terror. But short of Namco bringing out the GunCon 2 for a Time Crisis II port and support for games like Capcom’s Resident Evil: Dead Aim, it was practically a ghost town for light gun games during the PS2/Xbox era. Until the Wii briefly brought the genre back into the spotlight for a brief moment.
Now, back to the Silent Scope Light Rifle. It may not show well in pictures, but this is a beast of a light gun. If you thought Nintendo’s Super Scope was ridiculous and bulky, it’s practically a tiny handgun compared to this. Though, I get it. Silent Scope requires you to play as a sniper, and sniper rifles aren’t compact weapons. But there’s so much excess plastic for something like this.
On the bright side, some of the parts are detachable. The front barrel, scope and stock can be removed, which makes it a light gun in a more reasonable – yet still fairly large – size. I recommend doing this as the extra parts just get in the way.
Pelican Accessories is the manufacturer of this light gun, and I can’t vouch for their quality. The only other Pelican thing I own is a composite system switcher that’s done me pretty well for the 15 or so years I’ve owned it, so I fully expect that this is decent build quality.
Here’s the thing. Since light gun games during the 2000s were few and far between, there weren’t a whole lot of games on Xbox that supported a light gun. I saw only three Xbox games that support light guns: The aforementioned Silent Scope Complete, a port of House of the Dead III and, oddly, Starsky & Hutch. That’s… quite pitiful.
So you can probably understand my buyer’s remorse. While those games aren’t super rare – the most expensive are House of the Dead III and Silent Scope Complete at about $10-12, according to Price Charting – getting them just to try this light gun probably doesn’t seem worth it.
Especially since my house has been CRT TV free for about 10 years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this straight up refuses to work on my LCD TV. I did some research on the web to find out if it does work, but what I found seemed very inconclusive.
Maybe I’ll take the gamble and buy one of the games and see if it works. If all else fails, I got a fascinating piece of video game hardware. More fascinating than my The Beatles: Rock Band Hohner bass controller, at least.