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Duck Hunt

Duck Hunt

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Duck Hunt is a video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game console system in which players use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks on screen for points. The game was developed and published by Nintendo, and was released in 1984 in Japan. The ducks appear one or two at a time, and the player is given three shots to shoot them down.

Duck Hunt was one of the two original pack-in titles for the first release of the game system.[1] The game was not initially reviewed often, but given mediocre critical praise and positive gamer reaction.[2][3] Prior to the NES version, Nintendo also made a Duck Hunt game based on Laser Clay Shooting System released in 1976.[4][5]

Game Play

In Duck Hunt, players utilize the Nintendo Zapper Light Gun that must be plugged into their NES consoles, and attempt to shoot down either ducks or clay pigeons in mid-flight. Duck Hunt was also released as an arcade game in 1984,[6] and is included in the PlayChoice-10 arcade console.[7]

The game has three modes: one and two-duck variations on the above formula, and a third mode called "clay pigeon shooting". The clay pigeons are much smaller sprites than the ducks, and, in later rounds, require faster reaction time to shoot down than in comparably numbered duck modes. In Vs. Duck Hunt, Clay Shooting mode appears as the second round with the first round being the two duck variation (the arcade version never had one duck). Also, in the arcade version of Duck Hunt, the dog appears in the clay shooting round when players miss the clay pigeons. In the NES version, the dog only appears in the duck shooting modes.

Throughout the game, the player is accompanied by a nameless dog that laughs at the player if no duck is hit, and congratulates the player if a duck is hit. Since then, the nameless dog has passed into video gaming folklore. A popular urban legend within the video game community claims that players have found a way to shoot the dog[citation needed]. While this is impossible in Duck Hunt's console release, it was made possible in a bonus round of the game's arcade version, Vs. Duck Hunt.[8] However, players will get no bonus points if they do. Also, there have been several unofficial remakes in which the player is able to shoot the dog.[9] The nameless dog makes a cameo appearance in the NES game Barker Bill's Trick Shooting (another Zapper game) and he can be shot.[10]

While Duck Hunt does not have a traditional multi player mode, the manual states that a second player may plug in a standard NES controller in the other controller port and control the duck that appears. This option was only possible in the one duck mode, and could not be done with the clay pigeons.[11]


Nintendo Research & Development 1 created the game. They also developed the Light Gun used in Duck Hunt. The game was supervised by Takehiro Izushi,[12] and was produced by Gunpei Yokoi.

Packaging and Music


Duck Hunt has been placed in several combination cartridges. In the original Action Set configuration of the NES in the late 1980s, Duck Hunt was included with Super Mario Bros..[13] This particular cartridge is found quite often in the United States, due to it being included with the purchase of a NES.[13] If one had purchased the NES system in a bundle with the Power Pad, then Duck Hunt was included on a 3-in-1 cartridge that also included World Class Track Meet and Super Mario Bros.[14]


The original music was composed by Koji Kondo and Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka, both of which did music for several other Nintendo games at the time.[15] While the sound effects have been described as "pretty much what you'd expect for a game from the early 1980s - that is, awful by today's standards...",[16] the game's music was represented in the classic games medley on the Video Games Live concert tour.[17] However, All Game Guide called the game an "attractive but repetitive target shooter" and "utterly mindless ... the game is fun for a short time, but gets old after a few rounds of play."[2] Video Game Critic, another online site, gave the game a negative review in 2004, scoring the game a "D" and stating "there's really not much substance to it ... overall Duck Hunt is pretty lame, and only worth playing for a trip down memory lane."[18] Despite the lack of formal reviews, several user groups have rated the game positively. IGN users gave it an 8.7 out of 10,[19] and the Gamespot community gave the Mario-Duck Hunt package a 9.1 out of 10.[3] It was rated the 155th best game made on a Nintendo System in Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games list.[20]

Duck Hunt, and the characters in it, have made appearances in video games since its release in 1980s. The dog in Duck Hunt has appeared in Barker Bill's Trick Shooting and can be shot in the "Balloon Saloon" game.[10] In Super Smash Bros. Melee, a trophy can be unlocked displaying the ducks from Duck Hunt.[21] Also, games in the WarioWare, Inc. series feature microgames based on Duck Hunt.[22] Duck Hunt is also the Level 19 theme in Tetris DS.

One of the minigames in Wii Play for the Wii console is Shooting, a game similar in style to Duck Hunt, although with multiple targets, including ducks, targets, UFOs, and cans (a reference to Hogan's Alley.[23]


  1. Gyromite. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2006-12-10.
  2. Duck Hunt Overview. All Game Guide. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  3. Duck Hunt. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  4. Nintendo Duck Hunt (1976)
  5. Nintendo Duck Hunt (1976) video
  6. Duck Hunt at Arcade Vault Retrieved November 21, 2006.
  7. PlayChoice History. Playchoice. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.
  8. Vs. Duck Hunt. Nintendo Database. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.
  9. Adobe Flash Game. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.
  10. Video Game Cameos & References. Video Game Cameos & References Database. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.
  11. Duck Hunt Cheats. IGN. Retrieved on 2006-11-21.
  12. Pioneers of the Renaissance. N-Sider. Retrieved on 2006-12-11.
  13. Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Console Classix. Retrieved on 2006-11-25.
  14. 3 in 1 Cartridge. Amazon. Retrieved on 2006-11-25.
  15. Hirokazu Tanaka Musical Credits in Games. Retrieved on 2006-12-10.
  16. Duck Hunt. 80's Music Lyrics. Retrieved on 2006-11-25.
  17. The Ground Breaking Video Games Live Hits UK Shores. Video Games Live. Retrieved on 2006-12-12.

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