Duck Hunt: Quacking NES Light Gun Game

Duck Hunt on the NES
Huck Dunt?

Here’s one of those legendary NES titles that, while obviously rubbish by modern standards, was something of a technological marvel back in 1985.

Duck Hunt

Although it looks basic these days, this warped our tiny minds back in the late 1980s. We can’t remember when we first played it. Probably 1988 or some such.

Whatever, the game was packaged with the Super Mario Bros. NES classic as a weird gaming combo.

Accompanying Duck Hunt was the NES Zapper, a toy gun you could point at the screen and shoot at the digital ducks.

Yes, that was entertainment back in 1985, kids.

The game launched in Japan in April 1984, North America in October 1985, and August 1987 for good old Europe. Nintendo R&D1 was responsible for it.

Takehiro Izushi supervised the game. And Gunpei Yokoi (who invented the Game Boy) produced it.

And Duck Hunt has gone down in retro gaming legend. It’s pretty iconic!

But what do you do, exactly? Well, the idea for the game is to shoot the ducks as they burst out of the grass.

Of course, you could just jam the gun up to the screen to make it a bit easier. But the hardcore gamers knew it was all about sitting at least four feet away from the screen.

Your pet dog then collects the ducks in the aftermath (neatly hidden by the grass).

Although if you missed the ducks as they burst upward, the dog goes and appears over the grass sniggering like Mutley. The bastard.

For those of us around at the time playing it as kids, its simplicity and psychotic violence left a lasting impact.

But pretty much everyone who bought a NES (over 61 million people worldwide) tried Duck Hunt. As it was packaged with the console for many.

Its return to the Wii U on the Virtual Console in 2014 caused something of a minor storm of retro gaming joy.

It’s remained on the gaming conscience over the decades, you see, to the extent Nintendo paid homage in the Smash Bros. fighting games.

Duck Hunt is, of course, a bit crap. But on this occasion nostalgia does play its part. We haven’t played it since at least 1991.

But we do remember it. Not necessarily fondly. It was of passing interest compared to the other games.

But it does connect us with our youth. Just in an utterly callous, hyper violent kind of way. Hunt duck.

5 comments

  1. You bring back memories of old… Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros, The Hunt for Red October, The Battle of Olympus… The first Nintendo S cool! (yes I know that now it doesn’t sound like it was)

    Liked by 1 person

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