Lik Sang PC Virtual Gun
In the Box
Like the ACT-Labs gun, the PC Virtual gun has an attached "control box." In the case of the Virtual gun, however, the control box is more like a control plug — it's no bigger than a gender-changer. It's an amazingly minimalist design, with just enough cable to plug in the USB end and reach the DB-15 VGA out port on your video card.
The Virtual gun also comes with an unusual accessory: a foot reload pedal, which plugs into the bottom of the gun's handle.
Fit and Finish
The Virtual gun was the most realistic of the three guns, with a nice black finish with silver "accents." It was, however, also the lightest of the three guns, and felt the most toy-like. The design was very nice, with the size of the gun falling between the too-small ACT-Labs gun and the "big honkin'" Bio gun.
This gun seems to take reloading as a priority — there's a reload button on the left side, the foot pedal acts as a reload switch, and the "hammer" of the gun acts as a reload button as well. That's three different ways to reload. The only other button on the gun is a "rapid fire" switch.
The "realism" of using the gun's hammer to reload is obviously way off, but it did turn out to be a very convenient way to reload.
The whole "reload" button thing is a bit useless in MAME, as not many games require a reload, and those that do mostly use the "shoot offscreen" method of reloading instead of a button (if you want to use a button instead of shooting offscreen, however, MAME Analog+ allows you to map the offscreen reload function to a button.)
Speaking of shooting offscreen, the Virtual gun is the only gun of the three that had no problem with shooting offscreen to reload. Neither the ACT-Labs nor the Bio gun would reload when you shot away from the monitor, but the Virtual gun handled it like a champ.
The accuracy of the Virtual gun was fair — it was a lot better than the Bio gun, but not quite as good as the ACT-Labs gun. The consistency of shot placement was good, although the gun had a weird way of placing the cursor — when you pulled the trigger, the mouse cursor would "jump up" from the bottom of the screen, then drop quickly back down. It looked weird, but it did work in games.
The video pass-through on the Virtual gun was good, with no noticeable ghosting or blurriness even at higher resolutions. The Virtual gun, however, has a recommended maximum resolution of 640x480 at 60Hz. I did notice that the accuracy of the gun improved markedly the lower the resolution went.
Overall, I think the Virtual gun is a viable alternate choice when choosing a MAME light gun — it isn't as accurate as the ACT-Labs gun, but it does work well enough and the realistic styling is nicer than the "ray gun" approach of the ACT-Labs gun. The foot pedal is more of a novelty than anything really useful, but otherwise the Virtual gun is all business.