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Duck Season, Dog Season


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Gamers know the infamous Nintendo game Duck Hunt from 1984. The game’s premise follows players shooting ducks down with their obnoxiously dog, who mocks you should any duck fly away for not shooting them. The game would allow you to play with the NES Zapper, a gun compatible with the NES, giving players the sense of actually shooting down ducks on the screen.  Despite the game’s simple premise, it received critical acclaim for the innovative use of the Zapper and went to go on as a historic game.

The game became referenced in multiple forms of media, such as making a guest appearance in the movie Pixels, starring Adam Sandler. Many jokes are made about the dog whether it be noting the annoyance or shooting him. The joke of shooting the dog came from speculation if the player was actually able to do so, leading to mods for the game, proclaimed cheats, and “secrets” told by others. Duck Hunt’s popularity led to many homages or mini games built from the game’s premise.But thanks to virtual reality, Stress Level Zero presents a game that calls back to the NES classic.

Duck Season follows the player through the eyes of a young boy playing a copy of said-game on their NES-pastiche console, Zapper included. Each round takes place within the TV because god knows how frustrating it would get shooting ducks on a small TV in VR. However, something is off about the nature of Duck Season as the game progresses, which becomes more and more obvious as events start to occur. What the player does has the game end in 7 unique and otherwise crazy ways, which should keep things interesting for the completionists, as well as hidden secrets that the player can find in-game. Subplots can also be noticed over the duration of the game

What I think makes the game unique is that Stress Level Zero was able to incorporate different elements which seem contrasting, but manage to blend them together to form an interesting story. There are the details deriving from Duck Hunt that give players a sense of nostalgia with more freedom thanks to VR. Not only can players play Duck Season on their in-game console, but they can also play pastiches of other game like Paperboy, Super Mario Bros., and more using the zapper. However, despite the multitude of callback to the late 80’s, the game brings in dark and horror aspects with a twist for players to realize. It is the game’s creativity with multiple elements that brings interest when the plot comes together.

Overall, the game can be a great experience for most if they know how to use VR. For others, it may be difficult aiming and handling things where they need to use it. Duck Hunt is on Steam and Oculus for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift at $20. If you’re a fan of classic games, horror, or both, then Duck Hunt may be just for you.

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Duck Season, Dog Season