To paraphrase 19th Century British playwright Oscar Wilde, the SNES Super Scope was awesome. Even if he never said that, he should have. Because it was. Sadly, the Super Scope has been lost to the cruel march of time, which means it’s also been lost to a generation of gamers who grew up with millions of polygons per second rather than 16 bits total. Yes, to many this “accessory” is a relic, but it is one that needs to be dug up and revisited. The below excavation serves to bring some facts to light that validate the aforementioned awesomeness of the Super Scope.
The hardware was impressive (for ’92)
Out of the box, it was a 2 ½-foot long light gun with a shoulder mount and attachable scope complete with eyepiece. It had a wireless receiver that plugged directly into the SNES controller port, and the multiple firing buttons meant you could use it as a machine gun as well as a bazooka. More on that feature below.
The Super Scope was a bazooka!
In reality it was a plastic light gun, but when you’re 12 years old and locking in on a boss-enemy super tank, for all intents and purposes it is a bazooka. Still feel like arguing? Here’s the closer: it was compatible with a game called “Bazooka Blitzkrieg.” So if the Super Scope wasn’t a bazooka, then why were you using it as a bazooka in a game called “Bazooka Blitzkrieg”? Checkmate.
It was wireless before wireless was a thing
As far as I know, back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s the only wireless anything were radios, that giant cell phone from “Wall Street,” and this Nintendo bazooka. The wireless feature meant that, in theory, you could shoulder mount the Super Scope and perch yourself atop any vantage point in the living room to dispatch of your pixelated foes. So what if the physics of line of sight wouldn’t allow you to literally “stand anywhere” and use it? The technology was still decent (far better than that of Nintendo’s train wreck Virtual Boy), and you were indeed unencumbered by wires as you used the device.
It had more games than “Bazooka Blitzkrieg”
Unfortunately not many more. One of the major knocks against the Super Scope was that it was only compatible with a paltry 12 games. Many of those were obscure, and some wouldn’t accommodate the light gun at all except for a few brief mini-games. Those who did own a Super Scope mostly played the titles on the included “Super Scope” game cartridge. There were six games, and none of them rose above basic puzzles or shooting down missiles and airplanes. But it was fun, and there was a high replay value.
It was energy efficient
Okay, that’s not true. Another drawback was that the Super Scope drained batteries like it was getting paid to do so. Not only did it take 6 AA batteries to use, after four continuous hours of play those brand new batteries would be emptied. Come to think of it, maybe they should have tabled the whole “wireless” concept after all.
It was also a laser!
Don’t believe me? Check out the climatic scene from 1993’s “Super Mario Bros.” where Dennis Hopper’s King Koopa fires up his modified Nintendo Super Scope. Looks like a laser to me.
So that’s it, all the reasons the Nintendo Super Scope has earned its “awesome” moniker. At the very least, it beats the Power Glove any day of the week. Want to take your retro light zapper knowledge ever futher, check out why light blasters are Not HD Compatible.