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Shooting Gallery Targets (Magnavox Odyssey)

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Shooting Gallery Targets, more commonly known simply as Shooting Gallery was released in 1972 for the Magnavox Odyssey. It was the first ever commercially released light gun for a home console.

The used light gun is referred to as ''Electric Rifle'' in the manual, but is called ''Rifletronix'' on the PCB and in technical documents. It feels really nice and is of a very high build quality. The pump action which is used to reload the gun, is under spring tension and actually sets a striker which is propelled against an obstacle upon shooting. This yields in mild recoil and a very audible sound upon shooting. A similar technique was later used by Radica in their Huntin' light gun series. The trigger is made of solid metal reminiscent to the American Laser Game light guns. The sight picture can be elevation adjusted by a slotted screw. All screws are held in place by metal nuts, allowing anybody to open this 1972 light gun without any risk of damage. The heart of the Rifletronix is a light dependent resistor. The sensitivity of the rifle can be adjusted by a potentiometer on the PCB.

The Rifletronix was made by Nintendo for Magnavox. At that time Nintendo was selling a light sensitive toy line called Kosen ju which translates to ''Ray Gun''. The Rifletronix uses the shell of one of these toys, as still can be seen by the here nonfunctional battery tray inside the rifle. This first involvement of Nintendo into the video games industry was also the beginning of their long tradition of bullying business partners. Nintendo didn't feel like paying royalties for their Pong systems to Magnavox and so they attacked the concerned patents. Interestingly the Rifletronix wasn't what made Nintendo designing their Rezakure shageki shisutemu, or ''Laser Clay Shooting System'' which would evolve into their light gun arcade games after the international 1973 oil crisis, as development thereof began already independently in 1971.

The Shooting Galley Target games are about a target dot. If it is shot it disappears. Reloading the rifle will cause the target to reappear. In order to play the games the player would tape a polymer foil onto the TV screen as a substitute for graphics. These overlays came in two sizes: Either a diagonal distance of 46 cm or 58 cm. The games were realized by the means of jumper cartridges which modified the logic of the Odyssey by interconnecting certain portions of the console. Two cartridges for light gun games were made, simply called number 9 and number 10. All games but Shooting Gallery use cartridge number 9.

Shooting Gallery Targets consists of four different games. The first one was called Prehistoric Safari. Player two puts the target into a dinosaur. Player one tries to shoot the static target. The number of hit targets is counted. After each shot player two shifts the target to another dinosaur. This is repeated for a total of 15 shots. Then the roles of the players are switched. A game variant exists in which every type of shot dinosaur yields in a different amount of points. The second game is called Dogfight! It takes place during the first World War. Player two steers the target which represents the Red Baron along the dashed line. Getting off track counts as a hit. Player one tries to shoot the target whenever it appears in one of the circles. Hitting the plane will score a point. Player two then carries on to fly along the track. To prolong the game player two has to fly a specific pattern which will repeat certain portions once. After completion the roles of the players are switched. Game three is called Shootout! Player two take s the role of the Dalton Gang and has to go a way through the map, which passes all insecure spots. The manual suggests one particular route, but the choice is free. In all of these spots player two has to wait, until the words ''You'll never get me, Sheriff!'' were spoken. Player one is the Sheriff and tries to shoot player two as often as possible. After finishing a match the roles of the players are switched. The last game is called Shooting Gallery. It is the only Odyssey light gun game which can be played as single player. The two player dots are placed at one side of the screen each, while the ball is travelling between them. The player tries to shoot the targets as they move ten times back and forth. The game starts off with shooting planes, then continues with rabbits and ducks and concludes in shooting boats. A game variant exists in which each kind of hit target scores a different amount of points.

The box is held in the same art style as the other Magnavox Odyssey products and shows the four overlays.

I had lots of fun with Shooting Gallery Targets and the Odyssey in general. I ended up recreating certain boards, designing new boards and making a video modification.