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The Super Scope 6 Blues
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 19, 2006   |   Episode 6 (Show Archive)  

   

A young Rambo kind of wishes he had the Super Scope 6, but this giant replica and new socks will have to suffice!
I hate the Super Scope! You would think that after fourteen years I would have gotten over my disdain for Nintendo's bazooka-like gun, but I'm pretty sure I hate it more now than I ever have in the past. These days we hear the word "innovative" tossed around any time Nintendo introduces a new accessory, but the Super Scope is definitely one innovation that should never have seen the light of day. The Super Scope -- with its enormous size and crummy game selection -- is truly the bane of my existence. Love it or hate it there are genuine reasons we should all loathe Nintendo's bazooka light gun, and I'm not just talking about the size.

Before we get into the worst part of this accessory, the Super Scope 6 game, let's remember why Nintendo decided to introduce this extremely large piece of plastic to the marketplace. Their original light gun, the Zapper, was a hit thanks in large part to it being included with many NES

Becky tests out the accuracy of both the red and gray NES Zapper!
units. Millions of gamers were able to take their frustrations out on innocent ducks and clay pigeons in Nintendo's Duck Hunt, one of the best arguments for at-home light gun games.

But the industry changed between the release of the Zapper and the Super Scope, for the first time ever the government was paying attention to what video game companies were doing and the added pressure was more than Nintendo could handle. Nintendo had already changed the Zapper (from gray to red) so that the police would not mistake it for a real gun. Was the Super Scope born out of the desire to not be mistaken for a real weapon? A product that was so over-the-top that nobody in the government could accuse them of inciting violence.


The Super Scope even found its way into Super Smash Bros. Melee!
Or maybe the Super Scope was born out of the idea that Nintendo had to go bigger and better. The notion that gamers wouldn't accept another hand gun, they had to make something that was so different that everybody needed one. Either way, what Nintendo brought us was a video game accessory that was needlessly huge and a giant waste of batteries.

Forget, if you will, the reason why Nintendo decided to release the Super Scope. Instead you should focus on the gadget's size, which is just under two and a half feet. There is really only one way to hold the unit; any other way is either uncomfortable or inaccurate. And the

The battery life of the Super Scope is akin to that of the NEC Turbo Express!
idea of having a wireless bazooka on your shoulder seems to suggest that the firing on screen is going to be slow and powerful. Couple this with the fact that it's heavy and not a lot of fun to use and this has quickly become one of the worst video game accessories of all time.

And then there's the battery life. For a company that has consistently done everything it could to conserve battery life -- stuck with black and white for the Game Boy, opted against a lit screen for the Game Boy Advance, stuck with a cartridge format for the Nintendo DS -- it's shocking to use the Super Scope. With six AA batteries installed you should expect around four hours of game play, which is not a lot when you consider the price of batteries and how long some people spent playing Duck Hunt. Fortunately there weren't any games you'd actually want to spend all four hours playing, but maybe that's not such a good thing after all.

But the worst part of the Super Scope was the game that came with it, the very reason we have this as an I've Got Your Number episode. It's

The Super Scope has been used in movies as well (The Fantastic Four pictured here)!
the pack-in game, the Super Scope 6 game, that is the real reason I hate the Super Scope. I'm willing to forget the gun's short battery life, the silly reasons it came to light and the terrible look and design of the product, but to this day I am still unable to swallow the idea of the Super Scope 6 game.


This is just one of the six reasons you shouldn't play the Super Scope 6 game!
For one thing, the "6" in the title refers to the amount of games on the cartridge. But in actuality there are only two games on the cartridge, Blastris and LazerBlazer. Both of these unfortunately named games offers three modes of play, none of which stray too far from the game's overriding theme. But despite the fact that there are six different modes, they aren't really their own "games," but I suppose Super Scope 2 just doesn't have that special ring to it.

If you were to apply this crazy counting then Capcom's recently released Street Fighter Alpha 3 MAX on the PSP would be called Street Fighter Alpha 30! Just because a game has multiple modes does not mean you get to count each of them as separate games, separate mini-games maybe, but certainly not a full game. Not only is this disingenuous, but since they use the number in the title to sell the game and accessory it's downright faulty advertising.


This Phantasy Star snapshot proves that Nintendo stole this "innovative" idea from Sega!
So let's just call it what it was, the Super Scope 2, a game that featured two titles that had almost no redeeming qualities. LazerBlazer was a shooting game that dropped a spotlight on every fear you might have had about a bazooka light gun. Your missiles are slow and the overall experience is the opposite of fun. Even worse was the Tetris shoot 'em up. You heard me, a Tetris shoot 'em up. In the three mini games you shot at Tetris pieces to fit them or destroy them, taking everything that was good about the Russian puzzle game and turning it into one of the most unplayable game experiences you will ever have. Between these two games there's about fifteen minutes of game play, and most of the fun comes from calibrating your gun at the beginning.


Well, at least somebody is getting some action out of the Super Scope!
Nintendo's Super Scope had a few side effects they probably didn't see coming, including a Sega rip-off called the Menacer. Sega's light gun was equally outlandish, but at least it was designed to be comfortable. And Sega answered one of the biggest gripes about the Super Scope, the Menacer could be taken apart so you could have a basic (albeit super sized) handgun. Had Sega waited an extra month or two they would have seen that the Super Scope flopped on both a commercial and critical level. But they didn't and ultimately looked like the fool for even trying to counter such a stupid accessory.

The sooner you accept the truth the better, the Super Scope 6 (game included) was a tragic misjudgment by Nintendo. Every aspect of the product, from the design to the games, was ill conceived, and it's awfully hard to determine who this product was aimed at. For a company that is praised for being at the forefront of game innovation, it's products like the Super Scope that prove that Nintendo is just a company that is bound to make a mistake or two.
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