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7. To the Earth: One of the last Zapper games released by Nintendo, To the Earth is a difficult sci-fi shooter where you have to blast alien ships and other obstacles without shooting your allies. It almost feels like Duck Hunt at first, only the ducks are alien ships and they fly right at you and they can kill you. It wasn't played that much at the time, as the Zapper was already clearly an afterthought by 1989, but it's a fun and challenging little footnote for the controller.
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6. Hogan's Alley: This basic shooting range game was as big as Duck Hunt at the time, a popular arcade game whose home port was a launch title for the NES. It's perhaps even more simplistic than Duck Hunt: shoot the cut-outs of gangsters, don't shoot the cut-outs of cops and civilians. Still, that's exactly what players in the 1980s would've expected (and even demanded) from a game that you played with a fake gun, and with its recognizably Nintendo character designs and fun music Hogan's Alley remains a minor classic.
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5. Wild Gunman: The original Wild Gunman came out in the weird proto-arcade days of the early 1970s, using a light gun and a projector showing full motion video to replicate quick draw duels from old Westerns. Nintendo updated it a decade later for the NES, this time using graphics that resemble the same style used for Punch-Out!! and Hogan's Alley. Nintendo practically tapped out the full potential for the Zapper within its first year, releasing a hunting game, a shooting range and a quick draw game at essentially the same time. Wild Gunman is a fine riff on an evergreen concept.
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4. Gumshoe: The weirdest Zapper game is also probably the hardest. Gumshoe was one of Nintendo's first NES light gun games, and unlike the rest it's not a shooting gallery. It's a side-scrolling platformer where your character, the trenchcoated detective Mr. Stevenson, walks persistently towards the right side of the screen. You have to shoot him to make him jump, while also shooting the enemies that can hurt him. You have limited bullets, though, so you'll often wind up unable to protect Mr. Stevenson. This is probably the most fascinating game on this list, but it's so hard that most will probably lose interest before finishing the first stage.
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3. Barker Bill's Trick Shooting: This late arrival for the NES was the last great Zapper game. Like Duck Hunt and Hogan's Alley, it embraces the simplicity forced upon it by the limited control scheme, offering up minigames straight out of carnival midways. The Duck Hunt dog even makes an appearance in one of the rounds. It offers more variety than Duck Hunt, but its more iconic predecessor is better for head-to-head challenges; between that and the nostalgia factor, Duck Hunt is a better party game today.
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2. Freedom Force: This isn't Irrational's superhero Jack Kirby homage from 13 years ago, but an arcade-style shooting gallery where you have to take out terrorists while avoiding their hostages. The camera pans from side to side as you shoot through the windows in buildings and planes, making it a more complex and stimulating affair than the similar Hogan's Alley. Freedom Force offered a more realistic shooting range experience than any of Nintendo's own games, with an action movie influence as redolent of the 1980s as the Zapper itself.
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1. Duck Hunt: Simplicity counts. So does nostalgia. Duck Hunt is a simple game—you shoot ducks or you shoot clay pigeons and that's it—but when your controller is a gun you're kind of limited in what you can do anyway. As the one game everybody who owned a Zapper is familiar with, and as a game that almost perfectly realized its modest goals, Duck Hunt is both the most iconic and the best of the NES's light gun games.
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15. Track and Field II: Look, this is better than most games on this list, and significantly so. But it's not a shooting game. There's one minigame out of 15 that gives you the option of using a Zapper or a controller, and it's a special bonus round, and not one of the regular events. We almost left it off this list entirely. The game does get bonus points for calling it "gun firing" and not the boring official Olympics term, "shooting."