Saturday 26 July 2008

The Sega Light Phaser

The Sega Light Phaser is one of the most popular accessories for the Master System. It started life in Japan but was never actually released as a console peripheral there. Its first outing was as a toy laser tag game called Zillion. The Zillion toy was released in Japan by Sega, Europe by Matchbox and Brazil by Tec Toy. Interestingly this was Tec Toy’s first product from Sega and marked the beginning of a great partnership.

The Zillion guns proved very popular In Japan and an anime series of the same name was created. This was around the same time as the Master system was released. A Zillion Master System game featuring the same characters and the gun was also released followed by the sequel Zillion 2 The Tri Formation, neither of which were light phaser compatible games.

The Light Phaser was unveiled at the start of the Master System life in 1986. It was originally bundled with Marksman Shooting, Trap Shooting and Safari Hunt for £44.95 (In the UK). And was later made available with no game included. Meanwhile the US had two separate cartridges in the form of Marksman Shooting & Trap Shooting and Hang On/ Safari Hunt.

Shooting Gallery, Gangster Town and Missile Defence 3D came out in 1987. 1988 saw the release of Rescue Mission and Rambo III. Now with 6 Light Phaser games available Sega introduced the Master System Plus and Super System, The Master System Plus package included a Light Phaser and two games built into the system, Hang On and Safari Hunt. The Super System came with 3D Glasses, a Light Phaser and Missile Defence 3D built in (the only game to cater for both those accessories).

Wanted came out in 1989 followed by Operation Wolf and Assault City in 1990. 1990 was a good year for the Master System, The Master System 2 was unveiled, and with that the Master System II Plus package which would once again include the Light Phaser but this time Operation Wolf was included (Alex kidd in Miracle World was built into the system). Loose versions of the Light Phaser were also re-released in slightly different packaging, one with Operation Wolf included and one on its own.

The last games to be released for use with the Light Phaser were Laser Ghost in 1991 and finally Space Gun in 1992. In total there are 13 Light Phaser games available. The picture below contains all the common variations of Light Phaser games, this also provides a good timeline of box cover design.

There are some interesting hardware variations to look out for including the Blue
Tec Toy version, apparently to reduce the Light Phasers similarities to that of a real gun (Shown below). The US also took steps to change the light phasers appearance by painting the tip neon orange although these are few and far between.

Some interesting Light Phaser box variations can also be found, perhaps the easiest (actually not easy at all!) to track down would be the Tec Toy Pistola Light Phaser.

The one below in a black and white box discovered last year on eBay (I only know of 2 reported sightings of this version, both in Europe).

Also more recently it has come to light that there is a German packaged light phaser, again only two have been uncovered so far.

Also perhaps the rarest of all so far, as I only know of one, is this Argentinan example, looks similar to the Tec Toy version with the orange and yellow squares. The packaging is in Spanish not Portuguese. This and the German one above are owned by the same collector.

In the main for a nice boxed Light
Phaser, unless it's in mint condition, you shouldn't really have to pay over £10. If you are lucky enough to spot one of the rarer examples shown above then you may expect to pay more (a lot more!).


gnome said...

Ok, I knew this would be an amazing blog, but, really, wow. Absolutely impressive! Keep it up! BTW, linked back mate :)

James Costello said...

Thnaks for the nice comment. It was your blog that prompted me to do my own, so thank you.

Bkron said...

Very interesting article. I thought it all started with the Zillion anime, I didn't know about that toy gun.

dan L said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
registry_error said...

I just purchased a sega master system and it came with an orange tipped phaser! Woot woot!