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Playing NES, Saturn & Master System with a laser gun


The reviews on this site are the text versions of the videos on my YouTube channel. The text based reviews use (if at all) very little pictures. Please follow the link to the corresponding video in order to see in game graphics.


In episode 126 I showed a laser gun controller which I made to play video games with. Recently I have found another laser shot tracking software, which translates mouse clicks in a more compatible manner than what I knew before. For the first time I was now able to use my laser gun with emulators.


Without further due I want to show some emulation examples. I emulated the NES with the FCEUX emulator and a fork called FCEUmm which can be put into RetroArch. For the Sega Saturn I used Mednafen. The Sega Master System is well emulated by FreezeSMS but the footage you are seeing was recorded with Genesis Plus GX which can be put into RetroArch. To emulate the SNES I used again Mednafen. The Atari 8 bit computers family is well emulated by a program called Altirra. For the Atari 2600 I used an emulator called Bee. The famous Vice emulator worked great for me to emulate the C64.


The program which allows me to use the laser gun on these games is called Project Ares. It was made in 2015 by Philipp Mei├čner. Calibration is very fast and painless. During calibration the software can even account for offsets caused when the sights are not perfectly aligned with the laser. Besides the lovely computer mouse emulator the software offers a slew of shooting trainings and even a parcour editor. The software can be downloaded free of charge from the Project Ares website.


In episode 96 I gave an overview over laser shot tracking. Nevertheless I want to quickly remind again what is necessary. A camera is needed which pays attention to the laser. Depending on whether a visible laser or an infrared laser is used, different cameras and or filters should be considered. I use an infrared camera made by ELP which costs roughly 35 USD. Laser guns can be bought from various sources or can be built at home. As display I use a cheap second hand projector for which I paid 100 USD including shipping from the United States. An alternative would be to put a non reflective sheet over a TV screen. Currently I am aware of two free softwares which offer mouse emulation: ShootOff and Project Ares.


While Ares works, it's not perfectly suited for all emulators yet. In some emulators once in while the mouse cursor is placed but the program doesn't notice the click. Furthermore I wasn't able to use Ares with the Arcade emulator MAME and the PlayStation emulator PCSXR. But the existence of Ares gives me hope that we are very near to an universal solution.