A little history lesson in Super Scope

The gamers who grew up with the NES remembers the good ol’ days of playing Duck Hunt just for the fun of shooting ducks, getting laughed by the dog, and sometimes, shooting that annoying dog (guilty of doing the last one. He did get on my nerves) with the NES Zapper gun. That light gun…




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6 minutes

The gamers who grew up with the NES remembers the good ol’ days of playing Duck Hunt just for the fun of shooting ducks, getting laughed by the dog, and sometimes, shooting that annoying dog (guilty of doing the last one. He did get on my nerves) with the NES Zapper gun. That light gun peripheral has shot it’s way into our hearts and memories for years to come. The NES Zapper has made such a legacy to where even some guns were customized to look like the NES Zapper. You could also buy the latest AR-15 rifles and make sure you get better equipment.

And yet, people who grew up with SNES didn’t seem to have known (or forgotten) of a certain gun-like peripheral that was released for the SNES in 1992. In success of the NES Zapper that has dominated the NES owners, Nintendo decided to release a ‘Super’ follow up to the gun, with a giant bazooka peripheral that is known as the Super Scope.

Oh wait, it’s that gun that we used in Super Smash Bros.

The Super Scope comes packaged in 3 pieces. We have the main Super Scope bazooka with buttons, the adjustable scope piece that can be adjusted to accommodate both left and right handed players (by inserting the scope to the side of the scope opposite the side of your shoulder), and finally, the receiver which it allows the Super Scope games to register shots from the Super Scope, acting much like the NES Zapper. The only requirement to make the receiver work though is that it has to be plugged into the second player controller port. Why can’t it be put in the first controller port is beyond me.

There are a couple of buttons and a switch for the Super Scope gun. The switch for the scope has 3 options: On, Off, and Turbo. The On/Off switches are used to turn the Super Scope on/off (since this gun runs on batteries). The Turbo switch, however, is used for certain games where Turbo has to be switched on to allow the player to fire rapidly.  Above the switch lies the Pause button which allows the player to pause the game to switch on/off or switch to Turbo. And lastly, the Fire button situated above the Pause button allows the player to fire shots in the game by tapping on fire (or holding down fire during Turbo mode).

As awesome as the entire concept sounds, the Super Scope never achieved commercial success. There were a few reasons why the appeal of the Super Scope wore off and hindered it of the same success that the NES Zapper achieved.

It feels a bit badass when you get to put it on your shoulder at first. The feeling you’d get from having a bazooka over your shoulder would give you the kind of a warm sensation that you would get when you know you are about to blow some stuff up in a bad ass kind of a way. Once you have gotten adjusted to that feeling though, that badassery feeling just fades away and you start to feel a little uncomfortable of having a piece of plastic over your shoulder sitting on your shoulder for a while. The reason why the NES zapper succeed where Super Scope didn’t is because you are only required to hold it in your hand. Not in the same way that you would hold the NES Zapper gun like a NES controller, but we are used to the idea of holding video game controllers in our hands, not on our shoulders.

Imagine doing this for over an hour.

It didn’t help that the Super Scope required a lot of batteries. 6 AA batteries to be exact. Imagine trying to have a relatively big supply of batteries to play the Super Scope games. Talk about expensive! Especially when you buy the cheaper batteries that will go out faster. For the length of the games that you will play, at least players can take solace to the fact that the batteries won’t die halfway through the game.

Speaking of games, there wasn’t enough games to help warrant the purchase of the Super Scope. There weren’t a lot of developers who were willing to throw their support for the Super Scope. Whatever the reason that it may be whether they don’t like testing games with the plastic bazooka on their shoulder, or whether they feel that having enough batteries to test their Super Scope game is too expensive, or maybe it was a bit of both. Regardless, this wasn’t an accessory that developers wouldn’t want to support in the long run. Out of hundreds and hundreds of games released for the Super Nintendo system, there were only 12 games released that supported the Super Scope one way or another (including a game that only used Super Scope for bonus mini games). As for the games that did get released for the Super Scope, none of the games weren’t even as hot to warrant the purchase of the Super Scope, unlike Duck Hunt that did help sell the NES Zapper sets (or guns alone). The most memorable game for the Super Scope system was the game that came with the Super Scope set, The Super Scope 6, which only contained 6 mini games where using your Super Scope was required to play. Here are the games released that were compatible with the Super Scope:

  • Battle Clash
  • Bazooka Blitzkrieg
  • The Hunt For The Red October (Used for the mini games only)
  • Lamborghini American Challenge (Used to access a different game mode)
  • Metal Combat: Falcon’s Revenge
  • Operation: Thunderbolt
  • Revolution X
  • Super Scope 6
  • T2: The Arcade Game
  • Tin Star
  • X-Zone
  • Yoshi’s Safari

Like Super Scope, many other gun-periphial accessories have faded into obscurity. The Super Scope, however, didn’t fade away for long. Later down the road, Nintendo decided to add the Super Scope as an item in video games. Super Scope has appeared in Super Smash Bros games, with it’s debut in Super Smash Bros Melee. It even made cameo appearances in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and Warioware: Touched! Many other gun-like periphials will be forgotten and make their place in retro video game stores. Nintendo, on the other hand will keep using the Super Scope as an in-game for other games to come. Although let’s be honest, it can’t beat NES Zapper. Unless the army can make bazookas and rocket launchers to the likeness of Super Scope. Only one can dream…