|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2007)|
A SuperGun (or super gun) is a device used to play arcade games in lieu of requiring a full arcade cabinet. Arcade games typically are designed to be used in a universal cabinet design. The supergun provides this universal interface in a greatly reduced size, allowing arcade games to be tested or enjoyed without needing the entire cabinet. Superguns frequently resemble video game consoles which plug into a television or monitor, and have detached joysticks and play arcade boards as if they were large cartridges. Some superguns are a large box with two arcade controllers side by side, resembling the top of a typical arcade cabinet.
A SuperGun contains the inner workings of a standard arcade videogame cabinet inside a small plastic or metal box. A SuperGun plugs in a JAMMA board and usually provides at least RGB output (the native output of arcade games) sometimes through an SCART connector. Since the SCART connector is not common on televisions in North America, frequently a supergun will also convert the RGB signal into NTSC composite video, S-video, Component Video or VGA signals, with varying degrees of quality.
While it is usually assumed that a supergun will automatically play JAMMA-compatible arcade boards, many systems support additional features not provided by JAMMA. The most common additional feature is wirings for extra buttons. This can be done with an extra set of wires that directly connect the supergun to the arcade board (called a "kick harness") or by wiring the extra buttons to some unused pins on the JAMMA connector itself. Regardless of the method used, these extra connections fall into the generic name JAMMA+. JAMMA only provides for three buttons per controller, but games requiring wiring for extra buttons have become common enough that many superguns support this out of the box as well.
Many arcade systems that don't have a JAMMA compatible connector can be played via adaptors that plug in between the SuperGun's JAMMA interface and the arcade board itself.
There exist many non-standalone arcade systems in the form of motherboards that will accept games built into cartridges, for interchangeability. For example, to play an SNK Neo-Geo game such as Samurai Shodown, one would need to first plug an MVS board into the supergun (which must support four buttons, standard on MVS games) and then plug the MVS game into the MVS motherboard. Similarly, Capcom has the CPS-2 for its games.
Alternatively, some modders may create one consolized arcade board, by adding the conversion components directly to the arcade board, rather than making a universal supergun for multiple boards. This process is most popular for boards that have interchangeable games, such as Neo Geo MVS and Atomiswave.