Peripheral maker PDP wants their new standalone lightgun system, MARS, to debut in 2019 as a modern and unique gaming platform. But all I can think is that it’d be a great place for Sega, Konami, Midway (via WB Games), Taito, and even American Laser Games (via Digital Leisure) to finally bring their arcade and console lightgun games to modern TVs without compromise.
LCD, Plasma, LED, and OLED screens sure are pretty but they just don’t work with the NES Zapper, the Justifier, the GunCon, or practically any other at-home lightgun to date. We got close with the Wii but I don’t think the fidelity was quite there, and besides, everyone just shoveled out meager carnival shooters instead of doing the work to update arcade classics. What I’d love to see MARS become is a Wii-like Virtual Console exclusively for lightgun games. Or if you prefer, MAME without having to resort to a mouse.
Sega alone could supply a ton of games I’ve had on my mind lately: Brave Firefighters, Virtua Cop, L.A. Machineguns, Let’s Go Jungle, and of course our beloved Ocean Hunter. Midway’s T2: The Arcade Game, Taito’s Operation Wolf, Exidy’s outrageous Chiller, and Konami’s Lethal Enforcers are just a few others that come to mind. All of the home versions of these games were hobbled by the hardware of their time and then locked away once we moved off of CRT screens.
Mobile processors are more than powerful enough to authentically render these games today and with MARS we could finally have the peripheral to make them feel equally authentic to play. Yes, the guns look a little wimpy but they appear to have enough buttons to accommodate any classic shooter I can think of. They may even have force feedback or motion sensors hiding inside but all that is still a mystery.
What’s powering MARS, how does it feel, how much will it cost, and which developers are on board will all hopefully be revealed next week at E3. If even one classic lightgun game is in the roster I’ll start grandstanding for other publishers to join in. It’s been far too long since I’ve been able to play so many lightgun shooters and MARS seems like it could have that specific niche locked down.
What about you? What lightgun games would you like to be able to play on a modern TV?