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Vol. 2, Issue 6
December 16, 1999

Geek Toys:


by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon


Toy: Gun System
Creator: ACT Labs
Average Price: $89.99


kay, I’ll say this right off the top. I consider myself a hardcore gamer and I’m pretty set in my ways. As an FPS gamer, I use a keyboard and a mouse. Show me a new controller and I’ll show you the door. What could be simpler?

But I do play other games. I’ll use a wheel for a racing game, and I’ll use a stick for a flight simulator. Get me in an arcade and I’ll even use a gun. Get that shocked look off your face. Thus I’m not totally opposed to using other controllers depending on the game. So naturally I was curious when I was handed the GS gun system from Act Labs.

click to enlarge!

Lookit them guns (35k)

The GS comes with two guns, a base, and a little hand-held controller I call the “phaser” as it looks just like the little stun/kill weapon they use in Star Trek: The Next-Generation. Straight out of the box the gun looks cool, in a futuristic sorta fashion. I immediately held it up to the mirror and did my Blade Runner impression. Oh yeah. We bad.

If you’re like me, you hate reading manuals. A new toy is meant to be played with! A cable plugs the base of the system into a regular game port and there’s another cable that is used as a VGA pass-through. I felt a little leery about using a pass-through to my monitor, but what the hey. It worked. There are three hand-held controllers with the system, but oddly enough, there’s only two ports on the base to plug these controllers in. I was baffled by this at the time, but in retrospect, I suppose I do only have 2 hands.

With everything plugged in and the software installed from the CD, nothing worked. I couldn’t even get Windows to recognize it. Beaten before I even started, I decided to read the manual. First quirk: you must remove all game controllers from your control panel for the GS to be recognized. Says it in black and white. Second bit of advice came from an email from my sexy bud at Act Labs, Eugene: download all the latest of everything. Which isn’t as simple as it first sounded. Drivers for the GS needed to be downloaded, as well as for each game that I wanted to play with it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), the list of games that supports the GS is kinda small right now. I downloaded the Glitterstream mod for Quake II and the bundled game, Top Shot. For those of you living up Aunt Beatrice’s butt for the last 3 years, Quake II is a top notch FPS game, and Top Shot is a type of arcade shooter, not far displaced from the inevitable Duck Hunt. Glitterstream also has a mod for Half-Life, and if I can ever get my youngest to tell me what he’s done with my original CD, I may get around to trying it one day.

My first taste of a working gun came through the calibration feature in the control panel. A funny feeling came over me as a shot bullet holes into my Windows desktop. Like, yeah, this feels good. The gun is damn accurate, even when I pulled the gun back as far away from my monitor as the cables allowed. Made me almost want to figure out how to use the gun to navigate Windows instead of the mouse.

Top Shot is a fairly forgettable game. You sit back and fire shots at ducks, or skeets, or pop-up bad guys, or what-have-you. I played it for all of 10 minutes. Just long enough to know that the gun was working.

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Credits: Illustration © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Geek Toys is © 1999 Russell Lauzon. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, you cartoonish villian, you.