SSBM Icon.png
SSBB Icon.png
SSB4 Icon.png
SSBU Icon.png

Duck Hunt (universe)

From SmashWiki, the Super Smash Bros. wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
Duck Hunt (universe)
Duck Hunt Title.png
Developer(s) Nintendo
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Genre(s) Light gun shooter
Console/platform of origin Nintendo Entertainment System
First installment Duck Hunt (1984)
Latest installment 3-in-1 Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet (1990) North America
Article on Wikipedia Duck Hunt (universe)

The Duck Hunt universe (ダックハント, Duck Hunt) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters and properties that hail from Nintendo's classic NES game Duck Hunt, released in 1984. After minor representation in previous installments, the Duck Hunt universe received its first major representation with the introduction of a playable duo of the same name in Super Smash Bros. 4.

Despite being just called the Duck Hunt series, in Super Smash Bros. other NES Zapper games are part of this universe: Wild Gunman and Hogan's Alley.

Franchise description[edit]

In Nintendo's product timeline, the years prior to the development and release of the first Game & Watch titles in 1980 included a focus on electronic shooting simulations in which customers would fire mock rifles at targets projected against backdrops by overhead projectors, and whether the images were registered as struck were determined by a mechanism based on reflections. Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi had invested billions of yen in a project dubbed the "Laser Clay Shooting System", with Gunpei Yokoi and Genyo Takeda among the assistants to the development process, and had it set up in deserted bowling alleys throughout Japan. Though this product was on track for success, the oil embargo placed on Japan by OPEC in 1973 resulted in the cancellation of nearly all of the system's orders in anticipation of a nationwide economic recession. Nintendo enacted a campaign to begin paying off five billion yen in debt—an effort which lasted over seven years—during which Yamauchi proceeded to develop a cheaper version of the light gun shooting simulation concept that was presented in the form of electro-mechanical arcade machines, the "Mini Laser Clay System", as well as enact a separate project to bring shooting simulations into homes, known as the "Light Gun Series". Among the titles in this latter series was a product titled Duck Hunt, released in 1976, in which the projected targets being shot down were depicted as flying ducks.

Eight years later, after Nintendo had established itself in Japan as the dominant leader in the home video game console market in the wake of the 1983 North American video game recession, Nintendo introduced an electronic light gun peripheral for the Famicom, which operated by detecting whether it was pointed at a bright spot onscreen that only appeared momentarily each time the trigger was pulled. The first Famicom title to support this device, Wild Gunman, was an NES remake of one of Yokoi's Mini Laser Clay System products, and likewise, Duck Hunt also received an adaptation as a Famicom title with support for the light gun. When the Famicom was launched in the Americas in 1985 as the Nintendo Entertainment System, the accompanying equivalent to the light gun, the NES Zapper, and its three supported launch titles—Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman, and Hogan's Alley—were, as much as the R.O.B. unit launched simultaneously, an ingredient in Nintendo's ploy to sell the NES to wary western markets as more of a "multi-functioned toy" with compatible peripherals than a typical cartridge-based console. To some extent, Duck Hunt helped the NES revolutionize the world video game market by virtue of being a memorable showpiece for the system and the capabilities of the overall video games concept, despite critics noting that it quickly became repetitive to play. Duck Hunt was subsequently included with Super Mario Bros. in a compilation cartridge that was a pack-in with an NES console in a configuration called the "Action Set", which has since become a collector's item in the United States.

In the NES edition of Duck Hunt, the player must point the connected NES Zapper at a total of ten ducks that fly haphazardly onscreen above a grassy meadow and pull the trigger to shoot them for points. In different Game A and Game B modes, the ducks appear either one at a time or in pairs, respectively, with a second player being able to control the movement of the duck in the Game A mode with a normal controller; in either mode, the player only has a total of three shots to down each set of ducks. Shooting all ten ducks in a given "round" gives a large point bonus, and proceeding to the next round increases the speed of the ducks and the minimum number of ducks required to be shot in order to proceed to the round beyond that. There is technically no limit to the number of rounds that can be progressed through, though after round 99, the game will glitch and eventually end on its own. The cartridge also includes an unrelated "Game C" mode that simulates the sport of clay pigeon shooting. In a 1984 arcade edition titled VS. Duck Hunt (part of the Nintendo VS. System of coin-operated platforms in the late 1980s), two players holding two separate light guns competed for the number of ducks/clay pigeons successfully shot, with each player losing a life for each target that they fail to hit; the game ended once a player lost all of their lives.

The NES version and its VS. arcade counterpart feature a character depicted as a cartoonish hunting dog that enthusiastically jumps into the tall grass at the start of a given round, wherein he proceeds to panic the resident ducks into flying out into the open for the player to shoot. As a method of keeping score, the dog will pop out of the grass to hold up each duck that is successfully shot down, but more infamously, whenever the player fails to shoot a single duck, the dog will emerge out of the grass giggling at the player with a digitized laughing sound effect. The Duck Hunt dog has since endeared himself both as a video game icon and as a meme, both for the intended, unabashed annoyance element and the idea that a dog would be confident enough to laugh smugly at a likely frustrated human with a loaded rifle. Although widely touted as an urban legend, the ability to shoot the Duck Hunt dog is, in fact, possible in VS. Duck Hunt, where in a bonus segment that took place after every two rounds, the dog occasionally jumped out of the grass as the player shot at the ducks flying out. However, shooting the dog in this circumstance immediately ended the bonus stage. The dog made a similarly vulnerable cameo appearance in the NES Zapper game Barker Bill's Trick Shooting. Twenty-four years later, the dog reemerged alongside one of the ducks that could be hunted as a tag team in the fighting game Super Smash Bros. 4, with their inclusion resulting in them succeeding the Ice Climbers, Mr. Game & Watch and R.O.B. as the latest "retro" Nintendo fighters to make their way into the Smash Bros. series.

In Super Smash Bros. Melee[edit]

Duck Hunt receives minor representation in Melee in the form of a collectible trophy of the eponymous ducks, among the first trophies revealed at E3 2001 during the Special Movie. Interestingly enough, in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, the Super Smash Bros. Melee article mentions that Assist Trophies were to be implemented in Melee. The only trophy concept they gave details on was one that would release the ducks from Duck Hunt to fly around the stage and interfere with the fighters.


In Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Duck Hunt again receives minor representation in Brawl, this time in the form of a sticker of a duck from the game. In addition, Wild Gunman receives representation for the first time with a titular sticker depicting the gunman on the cover of the Famicom/European boxart. The title screen music from the NES game is also included in the Famicom Medley track.


Name Game Effect Characters
Duck Duck Hunt SpecialLaunchResistance+020StickerIconLaunchResistance.png +20 Ice Climbers Mr. Game & Watch Pit R.O.B. IceClimbersHeadSSBB.pngMrGame&WatchHeadSSBB.pngPitHeadSSBB.pngROBHeadSSBB.png
Wild Gunman Wild Gunman AttackSpecialsIndirect+005SpecialsIndirect.png Attack +5 Ice Climbers Mr. Game & Watch Pit R.O.B. IceClimbersHeadSSBB.pngMrGame&WatchHeadSSBB.pngPitHeadSSBB.pngROBHeadSSBB.png
Brawl Sticker Duck (Duck Hunt).png
(Duck Hunt)
Brawl Sticker Wild Gunman.png
Wild Gunman

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

Duck Hunt receives larger representation with a single new playable character and a stage in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.


  • DuckHuntIcon(SSB4-U).png
    Duck Hunt (Unlockable): The dog and one of the ducks from the NES game Duck Hunt appear as an unlockable tag team of characters. Three of Duck Hunt's special moves also reference other "Light Gun Series" games contemporary to their home game. Their neutral special involves a tin can from the "Trick Shot" game mode from Hogan's Alley; their down special involves the gunmen from the NES game Wild Gunman; and their Final Smash collectively involves a flock of ducks from Duck Hunt, the cardboard cutouts from the Hogan's Alley, and the gunmen from Wild Gunmen. Outside of these moves, their smash attacks also make use of the NES Zapper.



Original Track[edit]

  • Duck Hunt Medley: A medley which remixes the title jingle, round start jingle, good shot jingle, and the round clear jingle. In addition, sound effects from the game such as gunshots, quacks, and the dog's infamous laugh can be heard in their original forms at certain points of the song. It plays on Duck Hunt.

Victory Theme[edit]

  • Victory! Duck Hunt: A remix of the beginning tune heard when starting a level in Duck Hunt.


In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

The Duck Hunt universe in its entirety returns for Ultimate.


  • 59.
    Duck Hunt (Unlockable): The duo returns, once again as unlockable characters. Duck Hunt was given many changes, such as the option to attack or air dodge out of Duck Jump, and significantly more reliable smash attacks. On the other hand, Duck Hunt's previously impressive zoning game has been slightly toned down, owing to combination of inherent changes to their moveset and the zoning potentials of other characters.


  • Super Smash Bros. 4
    Duck Hunt (Starter): Duck Hunt's iconic stage makes a return from SSB4, this time with many graphical updates. Ducks may appear when fighting, and hitting them will cause the dog to appear, in which he can function like a platform.


Original Track[edit]

Duck Hunt received a new remix for Ultimate.

Returning Track[edit]

An arrangement returning from a previous Smash game.

Victory Theme[edit]

  • Victory! Duck Hunt: A remix of theme that plays when starting a match in Duck Hunt, which incorporates the original track. The tempo is faster in Ultimate.



  • Duck Hunt is the only universe with playable characters to have been represented as a minor universe in more than one game before eventually upgrading to primary universe status. Prior to Duck Hunt's debut as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. 4, the Duck Hunt universe was only represented in the Super Smash Bros. series via a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, and a sticker (alongside a music snippet) in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
    • In addition, it is tied with Animal Crossing for having the longest duration between its debut in the series and its playable character's debut, with both series debuting in Melee before receiving playable characters in Smash 4.
  • Despite having two tracks, the Duck Hunt universe does not have its own category in Ultimate's music section. This also holds true for the Ice Climber universe.
    • Oddly, the Game & Watch universe has its own category despite only having two music tracks, as does Final Fantasy (albeit in the base game only in the case of the latter).