Duck Hunt (1)

Genre: Light Gun Shooter
Year: 1984
Developed by: Nintendo R&D 1
Published by: Nintendo
Platforms: NES, Virtual Console
#427
Feeling Like: Animal Abuse

Coming in at number 427, it’s Duck Hunt, the oldest game on my list and easily one of the most notorious. It’s sobering, you know, having affinity for a video game that was created at the same time I was. To see us both endure more than three decades is wonderful. I sense a kinship formed. After all, only 20 choices from the 80’s made the cut, and this bizarre creation is one of them. It’s one of the most visually memorable games in existence. Nearly everybody who owned a Nintendo Entertainment System had this packaged with Super Mario Bros. Nearly everybody who did knew the same universal truths.

The first was to hold the Nintendo Zapper right up to the TV screen. I mean, how else are you going to ensure the waterfowl meet their demise? By playing fair? Duck Hunt doesn’t and nor should you. Those who were privy to the secret information knew that player 2 could control the ducks with a regular controller. I was not privy up until about 15 minutes ago.

While not as deep as some other NES classics, Duck Hunt made sure that everybody in the room was engaged. It had a light gun attachment that actually worked. The sound effects and music were effectively simple; more noises you’d hear at a country fair than a video game. The overly loud clicking of the Zapper was synonymous with cheers of revelry or lamentations of defeat.

Another eternal presence that filled us all with dread was you know who.

Duck Hunt (2)
Him.

The least adorable, most annoying dog in history. Zuul, Cereberus and the Hounds of Baskerville have nothing on this guy. Oh sure, he starts off the level with determination. He sniffs out the prey and scares them into the air. He’ll unhelpfully show you the duck you just shot down with a huge smile, but if you fail to bring down your airborne nemesis, he’ll pop up and mock you. Every. Single. Time.

There’s not much else to it. Just a great way to kill some time after failing to get past one of Bowser’s castles in that other game. You won’t get anywhere near to the “kill screen” unless you’re a Duck Hunt savant and the scores are reset when it’s turned off. Easy come, easy go. There’s also a different mode where you can shoot clay discs, but there’s no dog to pointlessly shoot at when it makes fun of you, so what’s the point?

The fact that they included the Duck and Dog in the most recent edition of Smash Brothers is hilarious, but fitting. We finally get a chance to beat the ever loving crap out of that mangy mutt and Falcon Punch our way through the peaceful, bushy background of our youth.

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