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 has a light sensor built in that responds when the barrel is lined up with a white light source, such as the square dot displayed by the console.

The pump action which is used to reload the gun is under spring tension and sets a striker which is propelled against an obstacle upon shooting. This yields a mild recoil and an audible sound upon shooting. The trigger is made of solid metal, and all screws are held in place by metal nuts, allowing ease of access for repairs. Per Boojakascha, a light-dependent resistor is the heart of the lightgun, and its sensitivity can be adjusted by a potentiometer on the PCB. (Link)

At this time, Nintendo (then a toy company) was selling a line of light-sensitive 光線銃 SP (Kôsenjû SP) or "Ray Guns". The Magnavox gun uses the shell of one of these toys, and this partnership was Nintendo's first involvement in home video games. (Link)


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.