Nintendo is Great: Duck Hunt (Nintendo, 1984)

The series Nintendo is Great will explore every game ever released for a Nintendo console/handheld, beginning with the Famicom and working our way up to the Nintendo Switch.

 

 

DUCK HUNT

 

PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER: Nintendo

RELEASE DATE: 04/21/1984 (JP), 10/18/1985 (US), 08/15/1987 (EU)

ALSO ON: Arcade (05/1985), Wii U Virtual Console (12/24/2014 – JP, 12/25/14 – US, EU, AU)

 

A man and his dog walk into a forest. The man carries an unusual orange pistol. The dog carries a keen sense of smell and a mischievous smirk. They come upon a clearing. This isn’t their normal spot, and they’re not sure what to make of it. Ducks are everywhere, but the man and his dog don’t see them; at least not yet. The dog sniffs his way into the grass next to the clearing. Startled by the shifting grass blades, the ducks emerge one at a time like clockwork. The man shoots them, stopping every so often to reload his strange gun. If he misses one, his dog snickers at him. Thankfully, he’s a patient man who isn’t interested in dog meat.

 

Shameless.

 

The ducks fly upward, sometimes one at a time, sometimes two. The man is enamored with his luck. The ducks seem to delight in flying right in front of him, despite how many of their dead compatriots surround the area. After a few rounds of this senseless animal violence, he grows bored. The ducks never stop coming, no matter how many he does or doesn’t shoot. Even his dog – who’s been faithful thus far to pick up the corpses – is nodding off in the grass.

 

Oh look! Another one…

 

The occasional duck hunt is fun when the stakes are high and the ducks avoid your grasp. Today is not that day, and the man isn’t in the mood for slaughtering record numbers of ducks all too willing to die. He whistles to his dog to come. They walk away from the clearing, dead ducks in tow, and back into the forest.

 

The man sniffs and stares beyond their path out onto sparsely wooded plains. The dog looks up at him excitedly and nudges the man’s pistol. The man nods towards the plains and the dog runs out of the forest with untamed joy. Freedom to roam and explore undiscovered territory is a good boy’s eternal reward.

 

Even the ducks grow weary of the man shooting them.

 

The man drops the sack of ducks on the plains. He rests for a moment, watches his dog bound around the expanse, puffs on his pipe. Another sack emerges, this one filled with clay pigeons. He loads a launcher, reloads his gun, and lets the pigeons go two at a time. This exercise is significantly more challenging, and as a result, far more satisfying. Thanks to the speed at which the targets are launched, even an experienced marksman like himself won’t always shoot every pigeon. And his dog doesn’t laugh at him when he misses.

 

Fly, little target, fly.

 

The pigeons are good practice, anyway. Practice for the day that the ducks decide to have some sense and not fly directly in front of his gun. Practice… for the next duck hunt.

 

Hunting ducks: C

Shooting clay: B-

 

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