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Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator (M.A.C.S.)


The Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator (or M.A.C.S.), was a shooting simulator developed for the U.S. Army as a cheap way to train shooting skills. It was a bit of a mystery until a couple of years ago when the rifle and and carts became available through Ebay. Thanks to 98PaceCar for the pictures!

By: Evan G
Last updated: May 24, 2009

M.A.C.S. system being used by a soldier (from the Minnesota National Guard website, see link in the bibliography)

The Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator was a bit of a mystery for quite a long time. I recall many years ago that we had this mysterious ROM image that didn't do much, and no one knew where it came from. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that a couple of M.A.C.S. carts appeared on Ebay that we found out that these were used by the American military for training purposes.

The rifle used for the M.A.C.S. is a replica of a Jäger AP 74 (an M16A2 clone). The light gun is far more accurate than the Super Scope and has the weight and feel of an authentic weapon. The gun includes a scope used for aiming, and the light sensor is in the barrel of the gun. The cord that connects to the controller port of the SNES comes out near the end of the barrel.

Replica Jäger AP 74 used as a light gun for the M.A.C.S. (image courtesy of 98PaceCar)
Authentic Jäger AP 74 (from Webshooters)

As for the carts themselves, they are generic US SNES carts, with a sticker giving the simulator title and version number. The program was developed by Sculptured Software (perhaps the most prolific SNES developer). Though the game did not have the ability to be played by a controller, a controller hooked up to port 2 is needed to access some parts of the program. The program rates how well you do in many aspects of shooting. There are a few known variants of the programs. For instance, the Moving Target Simulator keeps track of where you are aiming and where you shot so you can see how well you are shooting. The setup used by the military used a 13 inch TV, to give you and idea of what you have to aim at.

MACS Multi-Purpose Arcade Combat Simulator version 1.1e cart (image courtesy of 98PaceCar)
The shooting targets are grey figuresAfter shooting, it rates your scores

As this program was a very specialized product, it was produced in very small numbers. DreamTR contacted one of the developers, and they suggest only 600 of each simulator were produced.

There are several different variants of M.A.C.S. programs. Here is a list of known variants:

  • MACS Multipurpose Arcade Simulator version 1.1e
  • MACS Moving Target Simulator
  • MACS Basic Rifle Marksmanship Program Version 1994.0



  • Information on the M.A.C.S. at The Nintendo Repository (link)
  • Description from the Minnesota National Guard website (link)
  • Thread on Digital Press discussing the M.A.C.S (link)

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