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Virtua Gun/Stunner copies for PlayStation

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.

The Sega Virtua Gun, also known as Stunner, is one of the most loved light guns in the history. From the lovely Mateba 2006M revolver like design, to the excellent built quality there is much to like about it. Understandably many customers had the desire to also use the Virtua Gun on systems other than the Saturn. One attempt was by I O Data, who did expansion carts for IBM compatibles which allowed people to use the Stunner as a PC light gun. A few companies made Virtua Gun like clones for the Sega Dreamcast and for the original Xbox. In the current episode I am going to present a slew of PlayStation compatible light guns which were inspired by the Virtua Gun.

The first gun I am going to show was offered by a variety of distributors such as Game Master, Competition Pro, Sniper and acru. Some of its names are Gun Survivor, Laser Gun, Reload Gun, and Sterling Gun. It was offered in a variety of colors. Of the guns I am presenting in this episode it is the one which looks the most like a stock Stunner. The fake safety lever was removed to make room for a start button. On the left hand side is a switch which selects amongst Guncon and normal gun mode. The button identity is wrong labeled, as the start button acts as the action button in normal gun mode. Three control LEDs indicate the active fire mode. The fire mode is changed by pressing down start and the trigger at the same time. Besides the usual choices there is a so called "half auto" mode, which is a very slow three shot burst. Technically full auto and half auto can both be paired with an auto reload feature, but sadly this didn't work on any game I have tried so far. Unfortunately the trigger isn't tactile and doesn't feel nice. At the bottom of the handle is a TS connector, which allows the player to connect a reload pedal. Next to it is the On/Off switch of the force feedback. Sadly this feedback is too slow, too weak, too long and doesn't feel right when firing consecutive shots. Furthermore it interferes with the calibration of the gun, the video output of the console and the gun mode identity. In Guncon mode the accuracy is good but the precision is very bad. Even worse, the zero position of the gun is so far off, that the player has to calibrate the gun in games like Time Crisis Project Titian with an offset, as the gun wouldn't calibrate at all otherwise. In normal gun mode the accuracy is good but the precision is bad. In both gun modes a narrow stripe on the bottom of the screen can't be sensed by the gun.

A successor gun was distributed by Honey Bee still using the Laser Gun name. The biggest novelty is that the gun is also Sega Saturn compatible. This time the design deviates from the Virtua Gun design a fair bit. On the front part two cut outs aren't present anymore and the front sight is thicker. The biggest design change is in the back of the gun though. Instead of a revolver cylinder there is a Konami Hyper Blaster like circle. The cone in the back just moves in two directions, even though it has markings pointing towards four directions. The red nipple is just decorative. This time the A and B buttons are on the sides of the gun in a Guncon like manner. The two stage trigger is tactile and feels great. If it is pulled very hard the gun shoots in a full auto mode, the cadency of which is chosen by moving the cone and indicated by a flashing LED. On the magazine heel is a RJ-11 socket which can be connected to a well made reload pedal. Sadly the pedal is just supported during the PlayStation modes. The gun is supposed to figure out the relevant gun mode on its own, but a certain gun mode can be chosen by force at boot up or selected later on using the cone. Accuracy and precision of the gun are very good in Guncon, normal Gun and Saturn mode. Unfortunately in all three modes there is a big dead zone on the bottom of the screen. During Saturn mode none of the buttons is mapped to off screen shoot reloading and the B button servers as start. Personally I was pleasantly surprised by the gun and if it wasn't for the dead zone issue I would clearly recommend it.

Another three in one light gun was sold by Innovation as Dual Shock Gun. Its button layout is very similar to the one of the Competition Pro gun which I introduced earlier. An additional button is located at the back. Instead of using a mode selector switch the gun recognizes the console automatically. Nevertheless the player needs to press down the A button at boot up in order to enter Guncon mode. The gun doesn't feature auto reload or full auto capabilities. On the bottom of the handle is still a TS socket for a reload pedal, but there is no switch for the force feedback anymore, as force feedback is active all the time and can't be turned off. The rumble is fast and nice, but the gun keeps rumbling as long as the trigger is kept pressed. The design of the Dual Shock Gun deviates more from the Stunner's design than the one of the Competition Pro did. Notably there are fewer cut outs in the gun and the area around the cylinder was changed. The front sight is much thicker than the one of the Virtua Gun and thus the sight picture is distinctive. The clicky, tactile trigger feels surprisingly nice. In Guncon mode accuracy and precision were bad. Like the Competition Pro Gun, the Dual Shock Gun can just be calibrated with an offset. On one of the two tested TV sets I wasn't able to get Guncon mode working at all. It failed on a Sony PVM (PVM-2130QM) and I then carried on testing on a Beovision MX4000, where the gun isn't sensing light in the bottom most quarter of the screen. For Guncon mode the labels of the buttons make no sense at all. The C button is mapped to A, the A button is mapped to B and the B button isn't mapped to anything. In normal gun mode accuracy and precision are very good. At the Sega Saturn the gun has a decent accuracy and precision. In both modes the pedal and C button are mapped to off screen shoot reloading, which is very useful.

Shakehand sold a light gun which is very similar to the Innovation Dual Shock Gun. It is also PlayStation and Sega Saturn compatible. The major deviations from the Innovation gun are different button labels, the lack of a foot pedal connector, the lack of force feedback and the presence of status LEDs. This time the gun has auto fire and auto reload capabilities. Modes are selected by pressing the trigger while holding down Start. Normal fire, full automatic fire, a three shot burst, auto reload and all combinations of these choices are available. The auto reload interval is six shots. Often the gun reloads twice each time when using auto reload. The built quality isn't amazing. My particular gun managed to come without trigger switch and I had to insert one on my own. To enable Guncon mode all buttons and the trigger are pressed during boot up. In this mode auto fire and auto reload don't work. Accuracy and precision are good, but the gun can just be calibrated using an offset. On the bottom of the screen is a dead zone. Special weapon 2 acts as A and Start acts a B. Special weapon 1 does nothing. In normal gun mode the labels match the function. Special weapon 2 acts as an off screen shoot reload button. Accuracy and precision are very good in this mode, but sadly the dead zone on the bottom is still present. The same is valid for the Saturn mode. Special weapon 2 still acts as an off screen shoot reload but special weapon 1 does nothing in this mode. If you are rarely affected by screen dead zones I think this isn't a terrible light gun, apart from the calibration issue in Guncon mode.

Gamester LMP sold the so called PSX Light Gun. It is based on the second version of the Stunner which has an insert in the back sight. Its front sight is thicker than usual though. Interestingly the gun doesn't use the same barrel as the Virtua Gun does. To do so, a screw had to be relocated, traces of which are still visible on the shell. Further differences to the Stunner are the different front part, the additional cut out at the revolver drum and the cut outs where normally the text box for the model description would be located. Presumably Guncon compatibility was discussed at some stage, as on the right side are the remains of a non implemented second switch. The buttons are similarly placed as on the Completion Pro gun, but Start and Action button aren't swapped. On the left side is a big switch which engages the auto fire plus auto reload mode. This so called Turbo Mode is strange, as the gun is reloaded twice each time. The trigger is non tactile and feels terrible. Both buttons actuate way before the electronic contacts are closed. Thus the buttons have to be pressed very hard in order to work properly. In normal gun mode the accuracy of the gun is decent but the precision is bad.

The Zykon Joygun is a successor to the PSX Light Gun. It looks very distinct, and I think without the PSX Light Gun, I would have missed the Sega Stunner roots of this gun. The placement of the two barrels and the box on the right side is very similar though. Furthermore the gun is still a revolver. The font of the labels and the placement of some buttons and switches is identical to the one of the PSX Light Gun. Sadly the buttons still have the problem of actuating way too soon. Like the PSX gun did, the Joygun uses the upper barrel instead of the lower one. The gun still doesn't support Guncon mode, but it can be used for the Sega Saturn. The gun has a nice tactile switch and a good sight picture. Unfortunately when the trigger is pressed once, sometimes multiple shots are fired. The auto fire plus auto reload feature works good and fast. This time the gun reloads just once each time. In normal gun mode the accuracy and precision of the gun are bad. However on the Sega Saturn the accuracy and precision are very good. In Saturn mode the action button isn't functional.

Team Rescue sold a gun called Turbo Gun. The gun itself is labeled “Terra Nexus”. Besides PlayStation compatibility with both Guncon and normal gun mode, the gun also supports the Sega Saturn. The turbo gun bears a rather strong resemblance to the real Virtua Gun. A very noticeable difference is the placement of additional buttons on the right side of the gun. Besides an action button and a start button one button is mapped to off screen shoot reloading. The switch in line with the buttons toggles the auto reload function. The safety lever on the left side selects the fire mode form normal, full auto and full auto with a higher cadency. The back of the gun bears the most noticeable changes to the original Stunner design. A fake hammer is visible and a lanyard ring. The back sight consists of a slotted circular arrangement. It is very sturdy and offers a great sight picture. The front of the gun sports a LED which indicates the selected gun mode. The gun automatically recognizes whether it is connected with a PlayStation or a Saturn, but switches between Guncon and normal gun mode using a button combination. The overall built quality of the gun is very good. The trigger is clicky and tactile. The gun's plastic feels firm but slick at the same time. The details and the contours are very sharp. Sadly the buttons actuate before they close the electric contact and therefore have to be pressed quite hard in order to work. In Guncon mode the Turbo gun doesn't perform well. Its accuracy is good but its precision is bad. More alarming are the dead zones: portions of the right hand side and a large chunk of the bottom of the screen aren't detected properly. Furthermore the calibration has to be conducted using an offset like previously discussed at the Competition Pro gun. The gun came with a RGB friendly sync break out video feed through which is much appreciated. In normal gun mode accuracy and precision remain about the same, but the right hand side dead zone isn't present anymore and the one on the bottom of the screen is much narrower. In Saturn mode the gun has a good accuracy and a good precision. The dead zones almost vanished, just a very thin blind spot at the bottom remains.

Team Rescue made an updated version of the Turbo Gun called Recoyl Gun. It is quickly distinguishable by the red tip of the fake upper barrel. The gun was accompanied by a detachable scope. The gun owes its name to the moving front part of the slide which offers force feedback. The feedback is driven by an additional power supply. Personally I wasn't impressed by the force feedback. It is rather week and quite loud. Furthermore it feels like the gun was reacting to multiple shots, as opposed to single shots, during semi auto mode. Apart from the recoil function the gun is very similar to its predecessor. The clicky, tactile trigger is even more pleasant than before. The performance of the gun in terms of accuracy and precision were almost the same as with the Turbo gun. An exception is the normal gun mode which has bad accuracy and very bad precision. The scope decreases the accuracy and makes the dead zone issue worse. Of course the necessary offset for Guncon mode is vastly increased using the scope. For Sega Saturn enthusiasts I can clearly recommend the two shown Team Rescue guns. Their performance is good and they offer some great features.

The SRC Bio Gun II is notable for being PlayStation 2 compatible. The used shell is darn close to that of an original Stunner. Even the safety lever is present and acts as a selector between Guncon and normal gun mode when the gun is hooked up via the PlayStation connector. However the D-pad on the side of the gun and additional buttons give away that this is a clone gun. The quality of the buttons is great and they are placed at convenient locations. Next to the D-pad are a small Start button, A and Select. On the right side of the gun are B and C. On the magazine heel is a RJ-11 socket which allows the player to connect a pedal which is mapped to B. The sights of the gun use the style of the second generation Virtua Guns. The trigger is clicky but not very tactile. Overall it still feels nice. Sadly something is broken in my particular gun and I was just able to test it in Guncon 2 mode. I wasn't able to fix the gun, as the factory grinded away all markings from the used ICs which makes finding replacements difficult. The gun calibrates fine, even though the lower barrel houses the light sensor. SRC achieves this by tilting the light sensor upwards. The gun's accuracy is good but the precision is bad. There is a dead zone at the bottom of the screen. I think this gun has lots of potential and I like it. If you know how it performs in Guncon and normal gun mode please write a comment.

This wasn't a complete list of all Stunner like PlayStation light guns. I am sure there are others. Nevertheless I hope I succeeded showing the diversity of Virtua Gun like light guns and that I was able to tell which ones are worthwhile and which ones aren't.