One thing that people have always loved doing with computers is attaching toy guns to them and pretending to shoot things on the screen. Just about every computer had a gun attachment, and the ZX Spectrum was no exception. In fact, it had two! The most popular by far was the Sinclair-branded Magnum Light Phaser, bundled with just about every Spectrum sold after 1988. Incredibly though, despite its popularity it never had much software made for it.

Mad Dog McCree is a terrible, terrible arcade game built around live action video of actors pretending to be cowboys. You shoot them with a pretend gun and the action switches to a different bit of video where the actors fall over. While it's not very good, I thought it'd be perfect to expand the range of games for the Light Phaser-equipped Spectrum, using my existing full motion video player routine. Unfortunately I soon discovered why nobody else had tried making their own Light Phaser games - there was no documentation. At all.

Not that I'd let a little thing like that stop me, of course.
The video above is the opening segment of Mad Dog McCree running on an emulated ZX Spectrum/Light Phaser combination. You shoot the white square where the actors were standing and they fall over, just as in the original.

For an intensely detailed explanation of precisely what's going on, and source code for all the software I wrote to make the video, you can read my original article on the YS3 blogzine.