I’m usually hesitant to plunk down money on a game I already own. I do make exceptions (if it’s a director’s cut for example) but more often than not I’m content with what I have. In the case of Duck Hunt’s recent VC release however, I made an exception.
It’s not because the game is brilliant. To be clear, I do find Duck Hunt quite fun! But honestly, a lot of that stems from its iconic status as an NES classic, and the nostalgia that comes attached with it. That’s why I haven’t even attempted to review it. While retro gamers like me still adore Duck Hunt, modern ones may scoff questioning how it measures up to more modern expectations. Wherever you fall on the issue is fair enough. For me, repurchasing the game wasn’t just to evoke warm childhood memories. My hope is that its success on the Virtual Console will lead to more Zapper games being released.
In issue #17 of PNM, I wrote about the Zapper for our ‘Linking You To The Past’ feature, and it reminded me that there were several good games for the beloved accessory. Just looking at first party efforts alone, I’d love to play the impressive arcade port of Wild Gunman! How about quirky Zapper controller platformer Gumshoe? And how could I neglect to mention Barker Bill’s Trick Shooting, which atones for Duck Hunt’s omission by letting us shoot the laughing dog (in the least violent, family friendly way of course).
Modern TV’s mean the Zapper library is getting less accessible by the day. Even if it isn’t the perfect substitute, the Wiimote is still a fine fill in. Duck Hunt even has a couple of little touches that I appreciate – crosshairs appearing on the TV (which are thankfully optional) and a Zapper like clicking noise coming from the Wiimote’s speaker.
At the end of the day $5 is a small investment. Worst case scenario I get easy access to a game I’m fond of. It’s possible the release was simply to tie into the combo’s appearance in the new Smash Bros. But I hope Duck Hunt’s VC release is a sign of more Zapper games to come!