Light Phaser

From Sega Retro

Sega Master System lightphaser.jpg
Fast facts on the Light Phaser
Manufacturer: Sega
Made for: Sega Master System
Also works with: Sega Mega Drive
Release Date RRP Code

The Light Phaser is a light gun controller created by Sega for the Sega Master System. It is the Master System's equivalent to Nintendo's Zapper for the Nintendo Entertainment Systme or Atari Corporation's XG-1 for the Atari 7800. It was released alongside the Master System in the US in 1986, and also saw a release in Europe, Brazil and South Korea. No Light Phasers of any description were ever released in Japan.


The Light Phaser is a plastic gun consisting of a light sensor (in the tip) which is focused on a small area of the screen; and a trigger (which corresponds to Control Pad button 1). When the trigger is pulled, a compatible game flashes the screen in a way that is detectable by the light sensor, and hardware built in to the console allows the game to determine where the gun is pointing. The phaser is heavier than its Nintendo counterpart, but considered by some to have a more responsive trigger and more accurate targeting.

The standard Light Phaser is entirely black. As with the Nintendo Zapper, the Light Phaser looked realistic enough to warrant parental pressure to alter the device, so that police would not confuse it with a real gun. Altered Light Phasers are distinguished by a hand-painted neon orange tip, and are much harder to find than their solid color counterparts. Tec Toy also released a blue Light Phaser in Brazil. In that same country in 2009, an unaltered Light Phaser was used to hold a woman hostage [1].

Contrary to popular belief the Light Phaser was not modelled on the Sega-backed anime, Red Photon Zillion, in which characters use Light Phaser-shaped guns. It is in fact, the other way around - Zillion debuted in April 1987 several months after the peripheral was released in the United States. It is therefore more likely that the Zillion design was borrowed from Sega, similar to the Opa-Opa cameo who had debuted in Fantasy Zone in 1986. The Zillion Fighter Set, a light-gun tag toy developed by Sega, borrows the shell of the Light Phaser, but this too was released in 1987.

As with all light guns, the Light Phaser was designed solely for CRT television sets, which were the standard for televisions during the 1980s and 1990s. The Light Phaser will struggle with LCD and plasma televisions and monitors, as well as projection screens.



Pin Signal Dir description
1 Up n/c
2 Down n/c
3 Left n/c
4 Right n/c
6 TL IN trigger
7 TH IN light sensor
8 Gnd ground
9 TR n/c


The controller ports are active-low (this is achieved in hardware by leaving lines unconnected when inactive, and connecting them to Gnd when active):

  • 1 in the corresponding port register means "not pressed" or "dark"
  • 0 in the corresponding port register means "pressed" or "light"

Compatible Game List


Physical Scans

Sega Master System Hardware
 Master System Variations   Asia | North America | Europe | South America

Sega Mark III | Sega Game Box 9 | Tectoy Master System Girl | Tectoy Master System Super Compact | Kiosk | Sega System E

Add-ons   Demo Unit II | Telecon Pack | FM Sound Unit | 3-D Glasses
Game Controllers   SJ-152 | Control Pad | 3-D Glasses | Control Stick | Handle Controller | Light Phaser | Paddle Control | Rapid Fire Unit | Sports Pad | SG Commander
Misc. Hardware   Action Replay | Card Catcher | Action Case | Freedom Connection | Playkit
Unreleased Accessories   Floppy Disk Drive
Consoles on a Chip   Arcade Gamer Portable | Coby TF-DVD560 | DVD Karaoke Game DVT-G100 | Fun Play 20-in-1 | Master System 3 | Master System Evolution | Master System Handy | PlayPal Plug & Play | Poga