Duck Hunt. It’s one of those games you forget about until you see it mentioned somewhere … like here. It’s a classic, understated game, and I was a master of it.
The version I fondly remember is not the capable but lacking NES one. It’s the arcade model, the one that prepped a whole generation of people for the upcoming FPS genre. Instead of zombies or Nazis, though, you were shooting ducks (and the occasional dog). Again, a simple game but highly addictive.
At the time I discovered this game I was working at a campground resort called Timothy Lake. In its “game room” (really an arcade) stood the intriguing game with its light gun. At first I avoided playing it because I was a Xevious and Centipede fan, and we had both. Curiosity got the best of me, though, and eventually I parted with my quarter. It was the first of many. The game was not only addictive, it was also cathartic. After a long day of renting out miniature golf clubs, nothing blew off steam like shooting pixelated ducks out of the sky. Nothing.
My addiction to this game grew so deep that I resorted to some unseemly actions to secure playing it. If we were busy at the campground, I knew that I would have to wait an hour or more after quitting time just to get a chance to play. That wasn’t flying with me, so about a half hour before I would time out I would make an “Out of Order” sign, post it on the machine, and then shove a bit of toilet paper into the barrel of the light gun just to complete the picture.
Yeah, it was that bad.
Sadly, I haven’t played this game in decades, and I wonder if it would stand the test of time. I somehow doubt it, but the memory lives on.