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NES Zapper vs. SMS Phaser

#nes #master system #light gun #zapper #light phaser

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#1 HoshiChiri OFFLINE  



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Posted Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:27 PM

So, after not being able to take down a single duck with 3 different zappers, I have long just assumed my flat-tube CRT was too new to work with light guns. I figured someday I'd get something older with the proper curvy screen instead of the slightly curved one under flat glass I have. A few months ago, I added a Sega Master System to my collection. I got the Light Phaser today on a lark- I didn't expect to use it, I just kinda wanted one anyway and it was only 10 bucks. Since my SMS has Safari Hunt built-in, I plugged it in for kicks.


The damn thing works! The aim is weird (you have to point under things), but I did successfully get to level 2 after a couple tries, so it's definitely working. So, what I'm wondering now is: why can't I get a Zapper to work? Is there something different in how the phaser works? Did they age better than zappers? Did I just get "lucky" and land 3 non functional zappers (my understanding is, that's not so odd)? I've never really looked into the light guns, so I'm not that knowledgeable on them.

#2 7800fan OFFLINE  



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Posted Sat Sep 26, 2015 10:41 AM

Do you have any glare or reflection on TV screen? Try darker room, play at night, no other light, etc.


Also you do have the zapper in the right port?  Player 2 IIRC

#3 save2600 OFFLINE  



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Posted Sat Sep 26, 2015 12:17 PM

Yeah, might have it plugged into the wrong Player port. Failing that and the glare issue as noted, might have to fiddle with your brightness/contrast controls until it works...

#4 CatPix OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:12 PM

Nintendo zappers are supposedly much more reliable than the SMS phaser usually. The odds of finding 3 non working ones is very low, tho not impossible those days with people trying to sell anything labelled Nintendo.


As other people I'd suggest you to fiddle with your contrasts and luminosity settings - if you have an old camera, a PSP or something able to display pictures on your TV, use test pattern cards. They aren't only to tune your TV on a channel, in ye olde days of analog broadcasting, they were also for settign your TV luminosity - and you need to do so - with the upcoming of digital TV at the end of CRT life, and the lack of fidelity of early LCD TV, the usual settings were tuned to low contrast and high color saturation, for more "vivid colors" but an overall lack of depth for the picture, as the human eye is much more sensitive to contrast than colors (it's one reason why black and white movies always seems more contrasted and "deep" that color movies).



More adapted to NTSC TV sets obviously :D



More for PAL sets, but you can use it; I fidn the black and white scale easier to use.


And you can always check your color settings as well :


NTSC test card (it is important, as NTSC have hue variation than PAL doesn't have - tho it's mostly on early, all analogue TV)


And if you have a 16/9 set :


PAL version... reversely, because PAL suffer from chroma variation (in early sets only or some cheap Chinese stuff)


You can notice that those cards also allow you to check the geometry of your tube, and the amount of overscan (that is, the amount of picture you do'nt see because it's over the physical display).

If your TV set is a flat screen, overscan should be minimal, but there might be some, most probably on the right and left parts if it's a 4/3 display (to reduce the black bars of 16/9 emissions) or up and down (to allow a larger display of 4/3 broadcast on a 16/9 set).

Your TV might or might not allow you to access to such advanced settings. But we're going a bit too far for just contrast settings here :P

Edited by CatPix, Sat Sep 26, 2015 1:14 PM.

#5 HoshiChiri OFFLINE  



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Posted Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:03 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys! It's literally been years since I last bothered to try a zapper- long enough that the only one I have left is my CIB grey (one I know I sold, but I have no idea where the orange one went...) But with your advice, I successfully played a few stages of Duck Hunt :) While I'm sure the controller port thing was probably an issue at some point- most of my NES stuff came from my sister, who would assume broken without checking into things- but it's really a mix of things. Light glare is definitely an issue with my setup, and since I could only score hits from certain angles, it seems to be coming up here.


I do know I'm definitely holding on to those test patterns- I'll be in the market for a new TV shortly, it'll be nice to have those then!

#6 carlsson ONLINE  


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Posted Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:29 AM

I believe there are two or three different technologies on how to interface a light gun, and that it is possible the Nintendo and Sega used different technologies, working more or less well on newer TV sets.


This Wikipedia article describes the difference between a NES Zapper and a SNES Super Scope, but it doesn't mention if the SMS Phaser belongs to the first or second category. A bit of further searching might help.



Edit: Oh, I didn't see that you got the zapper to work after switching ports. Never mind then, unless you have a desire to read up on light guns in general.

Edited by carlsson, Mon Sep 28, 2015 2:31 AM.

#7 HoshiChiri OFFLINE  



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Posted Mon Sep 28, 2015 6:55 AM

Hey, I like to read up on gaming stuff in general :) Nice to know why my PS1 Guncon has to be plugged into the video port! Also sad to know it too will not work when I upgrade to an LED TV. All the more reason to make sure my CRT is stored properly!

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: #nes, #master system, #light gun, #zapper, #light phaser

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