Still in Our Sights: A Look at the SNES Super Scope

Posted by Steven Collier on Sep. 11th, 2015

From the moment you pick up a Super Nintendo Super Scope, the designer's mission is perfectly clear: make a bigger, better, badder Zapper gun. And in this regard, it succeeds with flying colors. The super scope's enormous, bazooka-inspired design measures in at over two feet long. It's so big, it actually requires players to rest it on one of their shoulders while using it. That's enormous for an adult. As a kid, this thing made you feel like you were carting around a enough fire power to make Rambo jealous.

However for all its bulk, the Super Scope was designed to be an instrument of precision. As the name indicates, the light gun featured an adjustable scope which looked directly into a surprisingly accurate front-sight to help you aim up your shots with whatever was on screen. This alone made the Super Scope a significantly more reliable controller than the Zapper.

Another great feature was that its sight was detachable, allowing it to be positioned on either side of the device. This was a great feature, that made the Super Scope equally accessible for right and left handed users. And it's a kind of consideration that was genuinely rare among most gaming manufacturer's in the early 90s.

So, why didn't the Super Scope become an instant classic? Well, for one thing it required a whopping six AA batteries to operate. Regardless, of how efficient it's power-save features might have been, that's still a lot of juice for a peripheral. But, far more damaging to the scope was a truly crippling problem: lack of game support.

Only a handful of titles ever utilized the Super Scope, and fewer still required the light gun to play. Check out the Complete List of Compatible SNES Super Scope Games.  Consequently, most SNES owners never even owned a game that required the light gun. But, for those who owned gems like Battle Clash, Metal Combat, or T2: The Arcade Game, the Super Scope was an indispensable accessory.

It's rare to find an accessory that works as well as it looks. But, the Super Scope was the full package. Both aesthetically and functionality, it was a masterpiece. So, if you still have a CRT television set up in your game room and for some reason you haven't already tried out this light gun, do yourself a favor and pick one up. In our opinion it's still just as satisfying to use as it was in 1994. But then, that's just us. How many of you used the Scope? How many of you fought through childhood shoulder cramps from supporting those six hefty AA's? We'd love to hear about your experiences with Nintendo's biggest light gun.

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