Odyssey:Magnavox Odyssey Light Rifle

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The Magnavox Odyssey Light Rifle is an optional Light gun peripheral for the Magnavox Odyssey video game console. It allows the player to shoot a moving light target displayed on the player's television screen, with the aid of a plastic overlay that sticks to the TV screen. The Light Rifle, being designed for the Magnavox Odyssey the first home gaming console, is the first home console light rifle.

Odyssey light gun.jpg


The rifle is equipped with an integrated light sensor that detects alignment with a white light source, such as the square dot displayed on the console.

The gun features a pump action mechanism, responsible for reloading the firearm under spring tension. It sets a striker in motion, which propels against an obstacle upon firing, resulting in a mild recoil and an audible sound. To ensure sturdiness and ease of maintenance, the trigger is constructed from solid metal, and all screws are secured with metal nuts.

At the core of the lightgun lies a light-dependent resistor, crucial for its operation. The sensitivity of this resistor can be adjusted through a potentiometer located on the printed circuit board (PCB). (Link)

During that period, Nintendo, originally a toy company, marketed a series of light-sensitive toys called 光線銃 SP (Kôsenjû SP) or "Ray Guns." The Magnavox gun utilized the shell of one of these toys, marking Nintendo's initial venture into the realm of home video games. (Link)


The Odyssey Light Rifle itself has the following specifications:

Weight: 627 grams

Length: 81 cm

Height: 3.5 cm

Width: 11 cm

When the rifle is packed in its original box along with accompanying materials, the overall package dimensions are as follows:

Weight: 1.095 kg

Length: 87 cm

Height: 5.5 cm

Width: 15.5 cm


The Odyssey light gun games revolve around using the console's square dot as a target. If the dot is shot, it disappears. Reloading the rifle will cause the target to re-appear. Similarly to the other Odyssey games, the player attaches an overlay to the television screen, as a substitute for graphics. The games modified the logic of the console, and two cards for light gun games were produced - #9 and #10.

  • Prehistoric Safari (Game Card #9)

Player 2 moves the target into a dinosaur on the overlay. Player 1 attempts to shoot the target and the number of hits is counted. After each shot, Player 2 moves the target to another dinosaur. This process is repeated a total of 15 shots, then the players' roles are reversed.

  • Dogfight! (Game Card #9)

This game takes place during World War 1. Player 2 steers a target (representing the Red Baron) along a dashed line on the overlay. Player 1 tried to hit the target in order to score a point. Player 2 then carries on flying along the track. After completion, the players' roles are reversed.

  • Shootout! (Game Card #9)

Player 1 takes the role of the sheriff (with the rifle). Player 2 is the Dalton Gang. Player 2 positions his light in the first floor windows of Charley's saloon where he makes his way down the length of the entire block. He must remain in each window and doorway for the time it takes him to say, "You'll never get me, Sheriff!"

When player 2 gets to the end of the block, he runs across the street via a horse and carriage to the house at the top right of the overlay and makes his way through windows and saloon doors, leaping from rooftop into the wagon then back into the saloon to waiting horses for the getaway. The player control unit is then traded for the rifle. The procedure is repeated. The winner is the sheriff who gets the most men in the Dalton Gang.

  • Shooting Gallery (Game Card #10)

This is the only Odyssey light gun game that can be played in a "single player mode". The two player dots are replaced at each end of the screen while the ball is travelling between them. the player tries to shoot the targets as they move 10 times back and forth.