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Cult Video Game Essentials: Duck Hunt (1984)

Duck Hunt is a light gun shooter video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game console. First released in Japan on April 21, 1984, it was later released on October 18, 1985 in North America as a launch game for the NES, and on August 15, 1987 in Europe. The game was released as a Virtual Console title for the Wii U.

In Duck Hunt, players use the NES Zapper to shoot ducks that appear on the television screen. The ducks appear one or two at a time, and the player is given three shots to shoot them down. The player receives points upon shooting each duck. If the player shoots the required number of ducks in a single round, the player will advance to the next round; otherwise, the player will receive agame over.

The game initially received few reviews, but was given mild critical praise and elicited a positive gamer reaction. Prior to the NES version, Nintendo also made a Duck Hunt game based on Laser Clay Shooting System released in 1976. The game would later be a pack-in game, being a dual game pack with this game and Super Mario Bros., and later a triple game with the same two games plus World Class Track Meet.

Duck Hunt is a shooter game in which the objective is to shoot moving targets on the television screen in mid-flight. The game is played from a first-person perspective and requires the NES Zapper light gun, which the player aims and fires at the screen. Each round consists of a total of ten targets to shoot. Depending on the game mode the player selects prior to beginning play, one or two targets will appear on the screen at any given time and the player has three shots, or attempts, to hit them before they disappear.

The player is required to successfully shoot a minimum number of targets in order to advance to the next round; failure will result in a game over. The difficulty increases as the player advances to higher rounds; targets will move faster and the minimum number of targets to shoot will increase. The player receives points upon shooting a target and will also receive bonus points for shooting all ten targets in a single round. Duck Hunt keeps track of the players’ highest score for all games played in a single session; it is lost, however, upon shutting the game off.

Duck Hunt has three different game modes to choose from. In “Game A” and “Game B”, the targets are flying ducks in a woodland area, and in “Game C” the targets are clay pigeons that are fired away from the player’s perspective into the distance. In “Game A”, one duck will appear on the screen at a time while in “Game B” two ducks will appear at a time. “Game A” allows a second player to control the movement of the flying ducks by using a normal NES controller. The gameplay starts at Round 1 and may continue up to Round 99. If the player completes Round 99, he or she will advance to Round 0, which is a kill screen (in “Game A”) where the game behaves erratically, such as targets that move haphazardly or don’t appear at all, and eventually ends.

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Founded Cult Faction in 2014. Some would describe him as a teacher, writer, dream weaver, and visionary... some would not...

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