A World of Games: Turkey Shoot

Arcade shooting games are timeless. There’s just something so fun about blasting targets or aliens or bad guys with a huge plastic gun mounted to an arcade cabinet. Some of my favorite arcade memories are with games just like this (I’m looking at you Terminator 2 and House of the Dead). However, it wasn’t until the 90s that we really started to see arcade shooters come into their own. What about a game from the early 80s?

Turkey Shoot takes the general concept of light gun games in the arcades and runs with it. Instead of just hunting turkeys like you might do in a Buck Hunter game or something, you’re actually saving the planet from mutant turkeys that have taken over. It is the most 80s thing I can think of and I love it. Your only means of extermination is the aforementioned gun, so get cracking and get shooting!

Something truly unique about this game though, which I am sure hasn’t been done anywhere else, is that between stages, actual feathers would fly up between the game screen and the plastic screen guard, giving the effect you actually shot them turkeys! It is really crazy to see, and something I fear I won’t every really be able to see nowadays.

The shooting itself with the gun feels gun and responsive: there’s a satisfying “click” with each shot, and the noise the mutant turkeys make when you fell them is equally satisfying. Stages are basic and use a similar background to each other, but you’re really not here for stellar graphics, are you? For an early light gun game, Turkey Shoot really delivers on giving you a fun and unique arcade experience. Which is what I think arcade games are all about.

Lastly, I do not know if this game saw any home console ports. You weren’t really likely to see the home consoles bring a light gun game home to begin with, and being released even before the Nintendo Entertainment System, you were even less likely. Oh, and those feathers were only gonna happen in the arcade, unless you had a sibling willing to toss them up every minute or two.

Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL 2019

DownStab has been a personal endeavor of mine for many years. Please enjoy the content and let me know if you have questions, comments, or just want to connect. And as always, game on.

– Jason J

Original blue and red Nintendo Switch controllers
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