Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Oddities: Turkey Shoot

It's Thanksgiving here in the US, and time for a little holiday-appropriate retro gaming.  For purposes of warm holiday nostalgia, I will note that I remember playing this game with my brother in the YMCA snack bar around the time of its release, and have not seen it in cabinet form since.

Back in the heyday of Williams Electronics, when Defender and Robotron: 2084 were raking in the quarters, the same hardware platform was used for a now-obscure light-gun game, developed by the awkwardly-punctuated Games Alive!, Inc. and released to arcades in 1984 around the time of the industry crash:

Turkey Shoot was set in a town square in the then-future of 1989, and the intro story makes it clear this game is not to be taken too seriously:

The game borrows from Robotron and foreshadows Exidy's Crossbow, with a cast of human characters to protect:

But the action is primarily concerned with shooting the mutant turkey bad guys:


There are several varieties of enemy to deal with, including this Muppet-esque turkey robot:

The action consists of quickly and accurately shooting the mutant turkey gangsters to keep them from committing various forms of mayhem, such as robbing banks and kidnapping civilians.  When they're shot, they turn instantly into roast turkeys, cartoon style, before decaying away to wishbones and vanishing.  Here we see me failing to keep the bank's money safe, as I take out one of the random thug turkeys rather than the one bearing the bag of cash away:

The game is fairly intense and difficult to keep up with, although it probably works better on the original hardware with its aimable machine gun control.  I had to break down and play it on the MAME emulator, where the controls were not conducive to accuracy and kept me stuck squarely in the first of one hundred levels.  While Williams (and its later owners) released many compilations of its classic arcade games over the years, and often threw in relatively obscure titles like Splat!, somehow Turkey Shoot never made the cut.

It's not a great game, but it's worth taking a look at for history's sake - the visual style and especially the sound effects call the great Williams coin-op classics to mind.  And its cartoony sense of humor is still a hoot, even if it's more fun to watch the attract mode than to actually play the game.

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. I actually dig this game quite a bit... not sure why so many hate on it!