First-Person-Shooter, RPGs, strategy, simulation, idle games: The number of genres striving right now is amazing. It almost seems like there’s something for everybody. But there’s a genre that has practically disappeared in the last few years: Lightgun games! But why is practically nobody making those classic arcade staples anymore?
Back in the days when there were still arcade around in my area, I loved to pop in and play a couple of rounds. While I enjoyed a large variety of arcade games, my favourites were always lightgun games, especially The House of the Dead. I think I enjoyed them mostly for their cheesiness, I just loved blowing off some Zombie-heads in these games! But since arcades are now pretty much extinct where I live it’s hard to find any lightgun games anymore.
So I turn to the consoles. During the days of the Wii, the whole genre saw a promising resurgence: House of the dead got an (incomplete) collection and a new game, Resident Evil had two good Lightgun shooters on the system, Dead Space surprised me with its take on the genre and Ghost Squad, a title I had never seen before, got ported over to the system and quickly became one of my favorites. While some of these games got released on other systems later as well and even House of the Dead 4 saw a release on PS3, the genre is now pretty much dead.
What’s worse: Going back to older console releases of these games is becoming harder and harder. The technology used in the lightguns only works with old CRT-Televisions, which makes my copy of House of the Dead 2 on my Dreamcast pretty much useless – or at least the lightgun. Unless you have an old television set standing around, you need new releases that are adapted to current TVs and consoles. So why are not more games being ported or coming out in this genre?
It’s not even for lack of control options: pretty much every system has the possibility to imitate lightguns pretty well. The Wiimote dealt effortlessly with these games and the PlayStation Move was more than adequate. Have our tastes evolved so much that we can’t enjoy short bursts of arcade action anymore? If I look at the indie game scene and what’s popular there, I’d have to disagree with that theory. I think there’s still a lot of potential for these games, especially with VR coming to consoles. Maybe there’s a resurgence for the genre coming soon?