Popular YouTuber shows how the 1980s’ gaming ‘light guns’ actually worked
Every nerd of a certain age has a slight weakness for 1980s technology — and thanks to shows like Stranger Things, there has never been a better time to get nostalgic about the decade that gave us big hair, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and peak Steven Spielberg.
One person who is capitalizing on this trend is popular YouTuber David Murray, aka The 8-Bit Guy, whose YouTube channel offers fun science lessons in the inner workings of our favorite retro gadgets. In his latest video, Murray shows us how two “must have” bits of gaming tech — the Light Pen and NES Zapper gun — worked.
Since being posted just a few days ago, the video has already racked up more than 400,000 views and shows no sign of slowing down, either.
“The response to this video has been amazing,” Murray told Digital Trends. “In the last 24 hours, I’ve had more than 1,000 emails. I’m trying my best to answer them all.”
The video is an entertaining deep dive into technology that seemed incredibly futuristic at the time, but which we never thought too much about the science that made it possible. What is impressive is how ahead-of-its-time tools like the Light Pen and NES Zapper gun actually were and how well they worked in some cases, despite the comparatively basic tech involved.
While Murray now has plenty of videos to his name, in this case, he said the video took a while to put together because of the challenge of finding one of the somewhat-rare light pens available for sale.
“In a lot of cases with these technologies, I have to track down and buy the things I want to show,” he noted. “I’ve been searching for a light pen on eBay for some time now, but they don’t show up so often because they’re rare. Eventually, I found one for $40, so when it arrived, I figured it was time to do this video.”