ACT-LABS GS Gun System

by Jason Clark on September 23, 1999 4:59 PM EST
So, after ten years of loyal service, your 8-bit Nintendo system finally packed it in… right when you were getting itchy to play a game of "Duck Hunt". Never fear, the guys from ActLabs just may have the answer to your problem, with their new "Act-Labs GS".

The GS (Gun System… get it?) is a slick-looking two gun set with a supplemental controller which looks kind of like a flashlight with a thumb joystick on the top. This additional controller can simulate a mouse for games like Quake, in which you have to do more than just shoot. The unit is typical Act-Labs gray, and typical Act-Labs quality-built. It doesn't feel like a piece of cheap junk when you pick it up (the Super NES so-called Super Scope comes to mind). The unit requires the gameport as well as a monitor pass-through, and each gun (or one gun and the controller) plus AC power are all wired back to the games control box. As such, it requires some serious wire-management skills to keep it from becoming a tangled mess. It ships with one game, "Remington Top-Shot", made by Head Games Publishing (an Activision affiliate).

Setup & Installation
Setting up the gun was a breeze, once we figured out that we had to set the desktop to 640X480 in order to calibrate the guns for Top-Shot, as it runs at that resolution. Actually, that fact is clearly stated in the product information, but we didn't bother to read the instructions before trying to set things up :) The setup program is very intuitive and the music that plays during installation is pretty catchy. The only odd thing about the calibration process, which consists of taking several shots at a bulls-eye, is that the last two or three shots always seemed to go a bit left of where I was aiming. It didn't appear to bother the accuracy of the gun in the game, though. They were always uniformly accurate, and were solid-feeling and ergonomic. The guns worked best when used about 18" to three feet from the screen. Any further than about four and half feet didn't work at all, even in a dim room. Unfortunately, as there aren't many supported games right now we had to rely on Top-Shot for most of our testing. Future versions of such games as Rainbow Six, and the Deer Hunter series will apparently support the GS.

Games & Conclusion
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