Lot's of people think that the N64 never had a light gun. While that might be true, there was certainly one planned for release: let's travel back to the year 1997. The Nintendo 64 has launched with great success and things are looking good for Nintendo and their future. Meanwhile, a video games accessory company called Naki International (previously known as Nakitek), were working on a Nintendo 64 light gun. Titled the "Lunar Gun," the space themed firearm came with your standard fare of light gun features such as auto-reload, auto-fire, semi-auto fire, and a special button for things such as grenades and special ammunition. The Lunar Gun would be priced at $39.99. What made this gun truly special was the optional laser attachment that was able to be purchased along-side gun for $34.99. Now that Nintendo had this awesome gun being developed for their brand new console, what kind of software would be ready to go with it?
Kemco Games, also known as Kotobuki Systems, had a very interesting mark on the Nintendo 64's history working as a publisher and developer. They worked on the very successful Top Gear series for the N64 while also publishing arguably one of the worst games to hit the console: Daikatana. Where things really get interesting and more so, mysterious, was their 1998 rail shooter titled "Knife Edge: Nose Gunner." You probably never heard of this game and for a good reason. It was met with extremely negative critic reviews along with some devastatingly poor sales, so it never really made the public eye. The rail shooting genre almost always has a gun peripheral, and the gaming community was puzzled as to why Knife Gunner didn't have the hardware support to make it the experience it was supposed to be. Now I've done some research around the web and I found zero information regarding the development of Knife Gunner. I did come across a lot of uncited sources saying that the game was originally going to be a light gun game (that would make a lot of sense!) but the Kemco dropped it sometime in development: practically dooming the game's fate. I've tried contacting Kemco for their take on this matter but they have unfortunately transformed into a company that only develops IOS/Android games and their contact form doesn't work.
Now here's where the story on how the Naki Gun and Knife Gunner intertwine. You can guys can probably surmise by now that the Naki Lunar Gun never met the light of day. It did, however make it to the Playstation (PSX) along with the same features I listed above. This begs the question, what happened that stopped the release of this gun? Well, we'll never know for certain because there was no other information released besides the announcement of the gun. And unfortunately, Naki International closed down sometime in 2004 so there's practically no way to contact them. So the only thing we can really do is speculate. Now, let's look at this from Naki's point of view and Nintendo's. Point number one: the N64's software library. The N64 was filled with platformers, 2d games, and fighting games. The kicker is that there were a lack of FPS games on the N64 and a SEVERE lack of on-rail shooters for the N64 (I believe Knife Gunner and Sin & Punishment were the only ones). Why would Naki invest in making a light gun when there's no dang software support for it? Especially in 1997-98! Point number two: the Super Scope. The failure of the Super Scope probably made Nintendo very weary of making another light gun peripheral and for good reason. These feelings definitely must have affected Naki during their development of the Lunar Gun. Point number three: CRT televisions. Light guns will only work on CRTs because they depend on the IR light to work; a byproduct that is missing in Plasma/LCD/LED technology. I believe Naki and Nintendo looked at the big picture and figured that CRTs would slowly be phased out come the new 2000 millennium. No CRTs=No Light Gun Support.
With all the contact lines cut off with Naki and Kemco, speculation is all we really have until hopefully, a Nintendo employee from the N64 era comes forwards and reveals their insight. My final thoughts: I highly doubt that Nintendo R&D were working on their own prototype after the lackluster Super Scope, so that's why I think they licensed it to Naki to "play it safe." Anyways, this was a fun little topic to research and I hope you guys learned something from it like I did!