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Turbo Gun for SNES

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 28 I briefly showed the Turbo Gun and sadly I told something wrong about the selector switch. This gun is seen by many as a holy grail of SNES gaming, which inflated the prices. Multiple hundreds of dollars are asked for it in auctions. The apparent scarcity and the high price were somewhat detrimental to the quality of the available information. I will resolve this issue now by this review.

The design of the gun was inspired by the Konami Justifier. Distinctive differences are the back sight, the second button at the right side of the gun and the lack of a RJ-11 socket. The back sight is actually a switch and labels its two positions "Mortar" and "Gun". This switch selects whether the gun behaves like a Super Scope, which is Mortar mode or like a Konami Justifier. This versatility is the reason why the start button on the left hand side has a second label saying "cursor". The gun has no dedicated switch to select amongst turbo and regular fire in Super Scope mode which is ironic considering the gun's name. The clicky, tactile trigger feels very nice. Relative to the thick front sight the back sight is way too narrow to be of actual use. The gun is of a solid built quality and feels sturdy. The Turbo Gun came shipped with a little DE-9 to SNES dongle, which sadly I don't own.

It is often told that this gun was solely distributed in Canada, which was taken as explanation for the apparent rarity and as an excuse for the high price. Researching this gun for a while now I have reason to believe that this gun was sporadically available in the whole of America including the United States and several Latin American countries. That the gun is using a dongle didn't make much sense to me and I thought that there has to be a reason for it. I assumed that there has to be some other compatibility and thus I decided to widen up my ebay search. During a single day I was able to find three Turbo Guns mistaken as normal Konami Justifiers. I went for the listening with the three possibly broken guns as I need the proper Justifiers for an upcoming video. The guns arrived in a very grimy state, but I was able to clean them. In my research of why those guns were mistaken for a Justifier I connected the Turbo Gun with my Sega Megadrive and sure enough it worked in Konami mode! During some tests I even got the light tracking working for a Menacer game, but I think this would need a device similar to the one I have built in episode 112 to work properly.

As already told I lack the DE-9 to SNES dongle. My initial plan was to figure out the wiring scheme myself by looking into the gun and brute force testing it like I did for the Radica Menacer in episode 24. Around the same time I did similar tests for a ZX Spectrum gun during which I broke quite some hardware. I decided then to put the project on hold and to seek contact with owners of such dongles in order to buy it from them, or to beg them to measure the pinout for me. After six months, programmer and content creator codenamegamma contacted me on reddit and gave me the so much desired pinout. Here is it. I built an adapter using this scheme which allowed me to continue my research on the SNES.

Overall I like the Turbo Gun a lot. It works very well and offers a stunning amount of features. But I would like to state clearly that I think this gun is overhyped and misunderstood which caused the asking price to climb up to unreasonable levels. People think that the Turbo Gun is the only alternative to the Super Scope, but there is at least one other light gun which is using the shell of the Joygun which I showed in episode 137. It is called Thunder Gun and it was distributed by DVS. Furthermore people could always use micro's Virtua Gun modification which I showed in episode 28. Apart from the missing turbo switch the Turbo Gun has another imperfection considering its Super Scope mode: The game Tin Star, which I reviewed in episode 9, doesn't work with it.