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Cult Video Game Essentials: Hogan’s Alley (1984)

Hogan’s Alley is a 1984 video game by Nintendo. It was one of the first games to use a light gun as an input device. The game presents players with “cardboard cut-outs” of villains and innocent civilians. The player must shoot the villains and spare the innocent people.

The game begins with three cardboard cutouts moving into position against a blank wall and turning to face the player. The cutouts display a mixture of gangsters and innocent/friendly people; the player must react quickly and shoot only the gangsters. In later rounds, the backdrop changes from the blank wall to a city block, with some cutouts already exposed as they emerge into view. The player is confronted with five cutouts in each of these latter rounds.

After five rounds apiece in the wall and city block, a bonus round is played. Here, the player has a limited supply of ammunition with which to shoot up to 10 tin cans thrown from one side of the screen, trying to bounce them onto ledges at the opposite side for points. After this round, the player returns to the wall rounds and the game continues at an increased speed.

Shooting an innocent person, or failing to shoot a gangster, costs the player one life. No lives can be lost in the bonus round. When all lives are lost, the game is over. The controls consist of a single light gun. This was a rather novel input device for a game of its time and added to its appeal.

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One thought on “Cult Video Game Essentials: Hogan’s Alley (1984)

  1. I owned it. Still do somewhere. It was the best light zapper game in my opinion. I really had a lot of fun in mode A and mode C. Sure I’d cheat as a kid and just hold my gun to the TV, but it was still fun.

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