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NES Light Gun on LCD TV

1/25/11
What is the number one complaint with the Duck Hunt NES game? Not being able to shoot that pesky dog! No, really the number one complaint these days is that surprisingly this light gun based NES game will not work with modern plasma and LCD TVs. To understand why, lets take a look at how the light gun works in the first place.

It's very simple, but somewhat ingenious design allows the NES light gun to know when you target a specific area of your TV screen... and it did this back in the 80s! Light gun based games for the NES took interaction with video games to the next level and set the stage for future interactive gaming such as the Nintendo Wii. So, what was their trick? Well, Nintendo made the TV do all the work. More specifically, when you pull the trigger on the Light Gun, a signal passes to the NES which in turn passes a signal to your TV. That signal creates a white block for a split second over any and all shootable targets. What does the light gun do? It picks up the white light produced by the split second image, IF you have the gun pointed in that specific area.

If you ever noticed why Duck Hunt isn't easier when standing closer, this is why. It's harder for the light gun to pick up that light at an angle. So, what about the plasma and LCD TVs? Why don't they work? Well, unlike the traditional tube, the format of the picture is such that the light gun cannot distinguish the targets. Rumor has it that if your LCD or plasma was set to produce only a 480i image, the light gun may work, but why would anyone make an LCD or plasma that did that?

Looks like we will just have to stick with the old cathode ray tube for our Duck Hunt. Happy gaming!

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