10 Best Light Gun Games Of All Time

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We are about to blow you away with this list of the best light gun games of all time.

Why will you be blown away? We didn’t just use that term for puns-sake.

Surely you’d be impressed and surprised to find out that they were possibly the very first form of video games.

The genre can be traced back to as early as the early 1900s when carnival amusement games introduced mechanical guns shot at canvas cinema screens displaying video targets.

And the first known light gun game was the Ray-O-Lite by J. P. Seeburg Corp from 1936.

This coin-operated electronic precursor to Duck Hunt used light emitting guns fired at light sensor targets.

So that means that electronic light gun titles existed for over thirty years before early video games!

We have come a long way since firing corks at black and white video played on canvases in a circus tent or standing two feet away from a slow moving light sensor with a rifle.

So let’s rank our top picks for duck and reload action. And for the sake of keeping it retro gaming relevant, we will only include those from the traditional video game era.

Sorry Ray-O-Lite, we still recognize your contribution.

1. The House Of The Dead Remake (2022)

If you spent any amount of time in an arcade hall during the late 90s and early 2000s, than surely a game you have encountered is House of the Dead from Sega.

Like the aforementioned Time Crisis, House of the Dead was a mainstay in arcades, and one of those games that you knew was gonna absolutely destroy your coin collection. But it was also one of those must-play games in the room.

The series is credited for adding to the resurgence of Zombies in popular culture in the late 90s, and it surely was a major addition in the horror genre at that time as well.

Ports and remakes have been released over the years, including on the Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, etc, but none quite as exciting as the recent remake.

Honestly, it is hard to pick which game in the franchise is the best.

Let’s just celebrate the entire series for their contribution to the horror and light gun genres.

Thank you for the memories, House of the Dead. We still love you.

2. Time Crisis (1995)

Time Crisis PS1 game case

Time Crisis is surely one of the most well-known arcade light gun titles of all time.

And the unique mechanic that makes the Time Crisis series so incredibly fun is the foot pedal-controlled duck-for-cover.

The second title in the franchise introduced two-player cooperative play, and the third entry offered a wider range of weapons to the player.

A new entry to the franchise was released for the arcade as recently as 2015 and featured some incredible modern graphics. But that same duck-for-cover gunplay that we love about Time Crisis.

Every game in the franchise is a banger. And like our number one light gun game on this list, the Time Crisis franchise is one that is hard to pick a particular favorite. So really, we are just going to acknowledge the entire collection.

Time Crisis is a staple in the light gun genre, and easily has a spot on this list.

3. Dead Space: Extraction (2009)

Dead Space: Extraction box for the Nintendo Wii

Dead Space: Extraction is one of the greatest horror game experiences of all time. It was a 2009 Nintendo Wii title that utilized the Wii Zapper attachment for the Wii Remote.

“Extraction” was released just one year after the original game in the series, and is said to have been conceived alongside that classic game as the prequel.

Many team members worked on both games, including the producer, writer and composer.

Though sales never quite measured up to expectations, the game is praised for its presentation and for being one of the first mature games offered on the Nintendo Wii.

Poor sales could be blamed on poor marketing, for being too mature for the Wii’s audience, or for being too early to the market for what it was.

To this date, the title still holds a Metacritic score of 82.

4. Duck Hunt (1984)

Duck hunt and Super Mario Bros dual game cart

We have come a long way since the 1936 Ray-O-Lite duck hunting game.

And while the gameplay is still fairly simple when compared to other games on this list, the cultural importance of Duck Hunt is undeniable.

People had experienced light guns on Magnavox and Atari consoles earlier, but Nintendo made their video game consoles a must-have in every American, European and Japanese home.

So for those lucky enough to be around when Nintendo became a cultural phenomenon, the Super Mario Bros. + Duck Hunt combination game cartridge was likely your first introduction to video games.

And the Nintendo light gun aka the NES Zapper was probably your first experience of a unique video game peripheral that was not the usual controller.

With the Duck Hunt being included in several of the Nintendo Entertainment System bundles, you almost certainly owned a copy.

I had my copy, and it certainly was a major part of my memory of early video game experiences.

Duck Hunt also makes an appearance on our list of NES best-sellers (number two, in fact!).

It would feel criminal to not include Duck Hunt on a list of best light gun games. And since I’m not really into most crimes, especially video game-related crimes, here it is!

5. Alien 3: The Gun (1993)

Alien 3: The Gun Arcade poster

They didn’t even try to hide it; it’s right there in the title. Alien 3: The Gun was a light gun title for arcade.

This is one of those light gun classics with a positional gun that makes you feel like a true space marine.

Though the game title was based loosely on the content of the film of the same title, Alien 3, the arcade title packed a lot of cool content not in the film.

This unique content included a variety of alien enemies and bosses that were not seen in the film franchise.

Alien 3: The Gun can be played solo or with a friend. And you will surely need help to survive the horror that awaits you in the space prison colony you are tasked to liberate.

This one is a pretty obvious contender as one of the best light gun games of all time. There’s just quite a few classics that are truly kings of the genre:

6. Ghost Squad (2004)

Ghost Squad arcade poster

Ghost Squad is one of the most exciting light gun games released for arcade way back in 2004.

One of the most exciting features was the light gun which was designed to be more advanced than others on the market.

It featured a fire selector switch and mechanical recoil. And it just looks pretty awesome too.

The Nintendo Wii port took the number one spot on our list of the Light Gun titles for the Wii, so you know it was gonna make an appearance here too!

That version features up to four-player coop, and you can even play Ghost Squad online.

7. Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles case for the Wii

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is the 2007 Nintendo Wii horror title from Capcom.

“Umbrella Chronicles” is a comprehensive stroll through some of the best entries of the Resident Evil franchise, where you play as and encounter familiar characters from many games in the series.

The story covers events from Resident Evil Zero, the Resident Evil remake, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and conclude in a unique endgame.

Both critics and players were happy with this unique format for the Resident Evil franchise, and “Umbrella Chronicles” was a hit.

They even followed it up with Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Both games were included in the PS3 Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection.

8. The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park - light gun games

I am a massive fan of the Jurassic Park film franchise. And Jurassic Park has spawned many video game adaptations over the years.

Not only was “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” a super cool arcade game with light guns, but they also managed to create the experience of actually sitting in the front seat of a Jurassic Park jeep!

The game was developed by Sega, who created several of the entries on this list. And it was the first shooting game to utilize the Model 3 arcade system to allow for more advanced video output.

I feel bad blasting dinosaurs, but if you’re gonna have to defend yourself against one, it might as well be in a Jurassic Park jeep.

Plus, it’s kinda hard to keep these coins in your pocket when you hear those dinosaurs screaming your name over those insanely loud speakers.

9. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - light gun games

Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a 1991 arcade game that supported the film of the same title.

The arcade title was developed alongside the film, and many actors make an appearance in the game as well.

You play as a T-800 Terminator cyborg fighting against Skynet using a massive machine gun with unlimited ammo.

Sounds awesome! And it truly was.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of the prime examples of positional-gun arcade shooters, where the light gun is attached to the cabinet, and you fire from the hip at the video screen.

Due to its arcade popularity, ports were developed on many home consoles. The SNES version of the game could be played with the Super Scope peripheral.

Arcade1Up even released a replica arcade cabinet in 2021 with a detachable light gun.

So cool to see the Terminator 2: Judgment Day arcade getting love, even to this day.

10. Link’s Crossbow Training (2007)

Link’s Crossbow Training - light gun games

Link’s Crossbow Training is truly a forgotten entry in a long line of classic video game titles.

I am madly in love with the Legend of Zelda franchise, and even I didn’t know about a Zelda light gun game until researching for this article!

It’s like Hyrule Warriors with a light gun (or in this case.. a light crossbow) for the Nintendo Wii.

And the game leverages assets from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Is that not cool enough for you? Then you are not my kind of player.

The game mixes elements of target practice and actual hordes of Hyrule baddies to zap using the Wii Zapper. There are even boss battles!

Link’s Crossbow Training was produced by Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma and Takashi Tezuka (legends of Nintendo).

First-person shooting in the Zelda franchise was something they had hoped to offer since it made small appearances in Ocarina of Time.

The game was included in one of the bundles for the Wii Zapper and this peripheral was actually designed with Link’s Crossbow Training in mind.

This is a truly awesome entry in the light gun genre, and one I am happy to discover with you!

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