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Dog (Duck Hunt)

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The dog

The dog, as depicted in the NES video game Duck Hunt.
Series Duck Hunt
First game Duck Hunt

The dog is a fictional character from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video game Duck Hunt. In it, he serves as one of the only visible living creatures, scaring ducks out from hiding. If players miss the duck, the dog will laugh at them. Since appearing in Duck Hunt, the dog has made several minor appearances in cameo roles, including Barker Bill's Trick Shooting, several WarioWare, Inc. games, and Tetris DS.

The dog has garnered a great deal of resentment for him from players of Duck Hunt, with several sources referring to him as the most disliked character in Nintendo history. Several fan medias depict the Duck Hunt dog being shot, a popular concept amongst Nintendo gamers, including a CollegeHumor video, a fan-made flash game, and a band called "I Shot The Duck Hunt Dog". However, he is also cited for making Duck Hunt as popular as it is today. One editor commented that the dog was laughing with the player, rather than at the player. In spite of the ability to shoot the dog being believed to be an urban legend, the arcade version of Duck Hunt titled Vs. Duck Hunt made the dog into an obstacle in one mode, allowing players to shoot him. Video game developer Mastiff referenced them while discussing their video game Remington Great American Bird Hunt, stating that the dog, Rockford, would not laugh at players for their failures.


The Duck Hunt dog first appeared in the NES video game Duck Hunt, which was also included in a bundle called Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt, packaged with the NES. In the A game of Duck Hunt, the dog searches for ducks, and when one is found, he will jump into the bushes to flush it out, allowing players to shoot at it with the included NES Zapper. If a duck is hit, it will fall into the bushes, and the dog will pick it up. However, if all of the ducks on screen fly away, the dog comes up and laughs at the player. This has been a source of resentment by players, causing a popularity for the concept of shooting the dog. While believed to be an urban legend, the arcade version of Duck Hunt titled Vs. Duck Hunt includes a more difficult mode, where the dog will jump to get the ducks, getting in the way of the players. If players shoot the dog, his face will be damaged, while also wearing a cast and using crutches. He will then say "Ouch! Shoot the ducks, not me!".[1] He has had roles in other video games. One of his earliest cameo roles was in the NES video game Barker Bill's Trick Shooting. He would also appear in several WarioWare video games, including WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! for the Game Boy Advance, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$! for the Nintendo GameCube, and WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase for the WiiWare service. He also appeared in a Duck Hunt themed stage in Tetris DS.


Since appearing in Duck Hunt, the dog has become an icon to gaming, as well as a symbol of annoyance. IGN described him as the bane of their existence, including him in their "Annoying Character Hall of Fame", calling him the "most annoying pooch they couldn't kill."[2] IGN editor Lucas M. Thomas listed the dog as a character he would like to see in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, calling him the most despised animal character in Nintendo history.[3] GamesRadar listed him as the most annoying sidekick ever, discussing how as opposed to introducing interesting characters, they used the dog as a character who would mock their failures. However, they added that without him, Duck Hunt would be less of an icon.[4] However, they also listed him as the seventh best canine companion, stating that they think that he is laughing with the player, as opposed to at the player.[5] Cracked listed the dog as the most annoying video game character from an otherwise great game, calling him the single most hated character in video game history.[6] They also listed him as one of Nintendo's best villains, simply stating that he "is an absolute fucker. End of story."[7]

Andy Slaven, author of Video Game Bible: 1985-2002, described Duck Hunt as being a quality game except for the fact that you could not shoot the dog.[8] listed him as the seventh best dog in video games, stating that even though he is annoying, he is ballsy enough to laugh at someone with a loaded rifle.[9] GameDaily listed the dog as the third greatest in-game moment.[10] listed the dog as one of the most unappreciated Nintendo characters. They stated that while dogs are man's best friend, that if the dog from Duck Hunt is man's best friend, they'd hate to meet their enemy.[11] They also included him in their list of characters they wish they could kill, stating that almost everyone they talked to, even dog lovers, wanted to shoot him.[12] In another GameDaily article, they state that the goal of the game was not just to shoot all of the ducks, but to avoid being laughed at by the dog.[13] Nintendo Power listed the dog as one of the things they love to hate, stating that there isn't a Duck Hunt player in the world who hasn't wanted to shoot him.[14] GameSpy listed the dog as the 10th favourite dog in video games, stating that while a dog in real life doesn't judge its master, the Duck Hunt dog unfortunately is not like that.[15]

File:ShottheDuckHunutDog.jpg listed the ability to kill the dog as one of the best video game urban legends, stating that it is one of the few video game urban legends based in actual truth, since players could shoot the dog in the arcade Vs. Duck Hunt.[16] MTV Multiplayer conducted two awards that included the Duck Hunt dog; the "Greatest Video Game Canine" and "Greatest Video Game Animal" awards. The Duck Hunt dog tied for first in the reader poll with four other characters - K.K. Slider from Animal Crossing, Amaterasu from Ōkami, and Sam from Sam & Max. Brian Crecente of Kotaku listed him as his third favourite, stating that the dog's art style and attitude reminded him of Fred Avery cartoons from the 1940s. Humorist Tofuburger listed him as his third favourite as well, stating that anyone who has played Duck Hunt will tell stories of broken TVs, controllers, and NESes due to the dog.[17][18] Official Nintendo Magazine listed him as the eighth greatest Nintendo moment, describing him as being smug and stating that they loath him.[19] Video game developer Mastiff referenced the Duck Hunt dog in promoting their video game Remington Great American Bird Hunt, stating that Rockford, a dog in the game, will never laugh at players for missing the ducks.[20]

In popular culture

A CollegeHumor video depicted the dog laughing at the star of the video due to his failings, which include getting fired and failing to please his girlfriend.[21] The Dueling Analogs web comic featured a comic about the dog, joking that he was seen laughing at tragic events in history, such as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the Hindenburg disaster.[22]


  1. Brockway, Robert. 6 Baffling Old-School Video Game Commercials. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  2. Pirrello, Phil (2008-06-23). ACD: Duck Hunt Dog - Stars Feature at IGN. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  3. Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-10-05). Smash It Up! - The Animal Kingdom - Wii Feature at IGN. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  4. The 12 most annoying sidekicks EVER. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  5. The Top 7… Canine companions. GamesRadar. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  6. Sunsets, Prussian. Most Retarded Video Game Characters. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  7. Sunsets, Prussian (2010-06-25). Best Nintendo Villains. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  8. Video Game Bible, 1985-2002 - Google Books. 2004-01-16. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  9. Top 10 Video Game Dogs from. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  10. December 12, 2008 (2008-12-12). Gallery and Images. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  11. September 03, 2008 (2008-09-03). Gallery and Images. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  12. May 04, 2009 (2009-05-04). Gallery and Images. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  13. July 28, 2008 (2008-07-28). Gallery and Images. GameDaily. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  14. Nintendo Power 250th issue!. South San Francisco, California: Future US. 2010. p. 50. 
  15. National Dog Day: The Top 10 Dogs in Gaming - Page 1. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  16. Plante, Chris (2009-06-26). Kill the Dog in Duck Hunt. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  17. And The Award For Greatest Video Game Canine Goes To… » MTV Multiplayer. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  18. The Greatest Animal In The History Of Video Games Is… » MTV Multiplayer. Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  19. Nintendo Feature: 50 Greatest Nintendo Moments: 10-1. Official Nintendo Magazine (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  20. Mastiff Rights The Wrongs Of The Duck Hunt Dog. (2009-11-18). Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  21. Duck Hunt Dog - CollegeHumor video. (2008-12-22). Retrieved on 2010-08-05.
  22. The Laughing Dog. Dueling Analogs (2010-02-11). Retrieved on 2010-08-08.

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