Has anyone ever played a hunting game? I don’t mean in the world, ever. Clearly they have or there wouldn’t be twenty-seven of them released a month. But reading this – have you ever played a hunting game? And if so… is it any fun? Watching the trailer for Bass Pro Shops The Hunt (below), I felt guilty just sitting there staring at someone else playing a simulation of killing pretty animals. And please don’t get me wrong – I’ll tear the dead flesh off the bones of a baby panda along with any other human aware of his omnivorous biology. But there’s something missing when it’s a game about shooting. Aren’t the enemies supposed to shoot back?
I think there’s something over-celebratory about the presentation here. The slow-mo bullet ride as it finds the deer’s neck is a gratuity too far, maybe? I’m very aware that responsible hunters ensure quick and instant kills, and that to miss the right spot when firing at something like a deer is stigmatised. But this seems somewhat undermined when flying Matrix-style through the air. Oh, listen to me, I’m such an over-sensitive soul. It’s only pretend! But still, ick.
I think there’s two directions I’d like to see the hunting genre head in. And neither of them are Deer Avenger. Either I’d like to see balance restored: give the animals bazookas, make the fight fair. That’d be an interesting game. Saving the world from a crazed gang of armed wildebeest. Or I’d like to see it taken to the extreme: an endangered species hunting game. Take out the last of the white tigers, mow down the remaining pack of dhole with a machine gun, fish the final Asian arowana from the blackwaters, snipe the last pair of mountain gorillas only moments before they mate. In the meantime, we have this:
Oh, and in case that’s not enough, here’s the accompanying controller for the Wii version: