Hunting game disappoints gamers, lacks realism

Josh Rouse

As an outdoorsman, the idea of a hunting video game always seemed a little ironic. Why would people rather sit down in front of a computer with a fake gun and shoot a fake deer with fake bullets than go outside and experience it firsthand?

Then I remembered sitting in front of a computer in fourth grade and killing thousands upon thousands of buffalo on “Oregon Trail,” and I realized that this has been going on for a long time. Thinking even further back, I can vividly remember sitting right up next to the television so I could dominate “Duck Hunt” on my old school Nintendo, and how I always wanted to shoot the dog after he mocked me (not in a Michael Vick way, though).

Cabela’s and Activision teamed up a few years back to bring us the “Deer Hunt” and “Big Game Hunter” franchises, and some of them are actually pretty good. Now, when it’s hunting season I usually spend most of my time in a cornfield. However, during the summer when there’s nothing to do and I get hunting withdrawals, it’s sometimes exciting to sit down and play through these games, providing they’re realistic.

Cabela’s newest game, “Big Game Hunter: Trophy Bucks,” fell well short of my expectations. When I first saw the box at Wal-Mart I was excited. It said on the back that it would incorporate waterfowl and turkey hunting, which for some reason are taboo amongst the video game hunters. Every hunting game seems to have either deer or something “dangerous” to shoot.

After making my purchase, I rushed home to try it out. After the download had finished, a flood of disappointment overtook me. Activision had taken out the best part of any hunting game: the thrill of the hunt.

Rather than having users search across a massive landscape in search of their prey, the game starts out each time in shooting position with a bundle of animals already in plain view. As gamers progress through the levels, they get certain “calls,” which produce one note that somehow attracts the animals to come blindly rushing in. If I could blow a goose call once and have an entire gaggle come to me, I’d be too bewildered to shoot.

Instead of adding any sort of artificial intelligence to make the animals more realistic they dumbed them down to make it more like an arcade game. Utterly stunned that I had just wasted $20 on an arcade game, I checked the box again. Not ONCE did it say anything about an arcade game.

Feeling betrayed by a company I had come to trust throughout the years, I took it back in a fit of fury, only to find out that I couldn’t return it because of copyright infringement laws.

I do not recommend this game to anyone who is looking for a realistic experience in a game. During one part of the game, a “bonus stage,” they give the hunter an allotted amount of time to shoot as many upland birds as possible. The thing is, thousands of birds come flying out at all directions. What the hell? Has that ever happened to ANYBODY?

Now, I don’t have any problem with them making an arcade game. But they could at least mark it as an arcade game on the box.

To put it in hunting terms, I aimed and missed with buying this game. However, it doesn’t help that Activision fogged up my scope.