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A type of video game where the player uses a pointing device in the shape of a gun to shoot at targets onscreen. In many cases, the targeting sensor is built into the gun itself, and the moving targets light up, instead of the other way around. Most light gun games double as Rail Shooters, in that the player's path is fixed and he/she can proceed only after all hostiles have been eliminated.

The light gun shooter genre is popular in arcades, some of the most popular being Lethal Enforcers, Virtua Cop and Time Crisis. Console light gun shooters have also popped up from time-to-time, but fell out of favor in the early 2000s with the rise in popularity of First Person Shooters. It should also be noted that many older lightgun games won't work on modern televisions, as the guns relied on the way CRT TV sets refreshed the screen to tell where you were aiming. However, the Wii having a built-in lightgun mechanic on the default controller is making it a popular platform now, especially with the decline of arcades.

Some of these arcade games are technically not light gun games but "joystick gun" games, as the aiming mechanism is actually a joystick firmly mounted on the face of the cabinet, upon which the gun is mounted. This makes holding and aiming the gun as if it were real simply impossible, but makes keeping your aim steady a hell of a lot easier. In Silent Scope, Revolution X and T2 the gun requires calibration as part of its boot sequence, though this is not true of other "joystick gun" games like the sprite-based Jurassic Park motion seat game.

Notable arcade light gun games:

Notable arcade joystick gun games:

  • Alien 3: The Gun
  • Aliens: Extermination
  • Beast Busters
    • Beast Busters: The 2nd Encounter, jump from 2-D to 3-D.
  • Operation Wolf
  • Revolution X
  • Silent Scope
  • T2: The Arcade Game (used a mounted machine gun as its controller; the SNES and Sega Genesis ports, however, were light gun games)
    • The Terminator Salvation arcade game is a unique example, as it's available as either a joystick gun version (the 32-inch compact version) or a traditional light gun version (the 42-inch deluxe and 100-inch super-deluxe models).

Notable console light gun games:


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