Category Archives: Light Gun Game

Podcast 1: The House of the Dead: Overkill (#35)

Format: Wii Genre: Light Gun Game Released: 2009 Developer: Headstrong Games


The House of the Dead: Overkill

'Mutherhugger' (taken from


It’s finally here, the first 101 Video Games That Made My Life Slightly Better podcast! Click play below to hear two very well spoken boys quietly speak in very posh voices about The House of the Dead: Overkill. Be amazed as we get a bit too excited and talk over each other. And be slightly concerned as our mums come up in the conversation.

Enjoy, and don’t be too cruel in the comment section.

Click below to listen directly through this site:

Or download and listen on your MP3 player of choice:

Podcast 1 House of the Dead Overkill

Ian & Lewis


Filed under 2009, Headstrong Games, Light Gun Game, Podcast, Wii

#15: Time Crisis

Format: Coin-Op/Playstation Genre: Light Gun Game Released: 1995/1997 Developer: Namco

There’s a simple reason that Time Crisis made my life slightly better – if, in the event of some sort of apocalypse, I was forced into the position where I would need to defend my homestead against invasion, the lightning-quick sharp-shooting skills I learned from this game will surely be more than enough to repel any maruading zombies/aliens/angry Belgians. My acquired ability to pick off multiple foes in quick succession, punctuated by brief dives for cover, will undoubtedly serve me well in any situation where I am required to return small arms fire whilst conserving ammunition – basically, if there’s only one gun in the bunker and the men in blue suits are hammering down the door, just leave it to me. Job done.


There really is nothing quite like gunning down a small army of colour-coded international terrorists to brighten up your day. Despite the constant repetition, I never seem to tire of this game; in fact, knowing exactly where and when every single little hapless blue guy will pop out is almost comforting. It’s a warm familarity, like a dog-eared, stain-covered, favourite jacket for which each stain has its own personal story.


I’m going to stick my geek hat on here (it’s the one with the flappy ear muffs) and tell you the extent of the misplaced devotion I have given to this game. Several years ago now – back in the days when I thought mobile phones were gimmicky and unnecessary – I spent around six months studying at Barcelona University. Otherwise starved of my computer game fix, I used to pop into the local arcade on the way to uni, although being a skint student, I limited myself to one credit – which always went into the Time Crisis coin-op. After several months of toil, sweat and frustration (well, mainly frustration), I finally managed to beat the game on one credit – the only time I’ve ever managed to finish an arcade game in one go. Beaming from ear to ear, I wallowed luxuriously in my enormous sense of achievement, then turned away from the machine with a cocksure smirk to drink in the awed looks and rapturous applause from my admiring audience – which consisted solely of the fat, moustachioed arcade owner, who was sat reading a porn magazine in the corner and who didn’t take a blind bit of notice of me.

Such is the life of the arcade gamer [sigh].


I suppose that’s one of the most melancholy aspects of playing video games – you put hours and hours of tireless devotion into honing your skills and learning every nuance and technique the game has to offer, but in the end the only people you’re going to impress are other, equally devoted (obsessed?) gamers. It kind of adds a trickle of ennui to the whole proceedings – which turns into a flood once you realise that the arcade owner is more interested in tits than your gaming prowess.

Which is fair enough I suppose.


Nevertheless, I continued to devote hours of practice to the home version of Time Crisis after I returned from Spain, despite the knowledge that, like all video games, all this tireless devotion would ultimately be for nought.

Unless, that is, the Belgians invade. In which case I would be able to proudly hold my head up high and say that this game, this single, mighty game, was my inspiration for taking on the entire Belgian Empire single-handedly with nothing but an automatic pistol. Perhaps, when it’s all over and I’m being triumphantly carried through the jubilant streets of a liberated London, I’ll look up and notice that Spanish arcade owner in the crowd;  lip quivering, he’ll slowly raise a salute in my honour as ‘Red Hot Senoritas’ slips from his grubby fingers, only to be trampled by the exaltant crowd.

At last, justification for my video game obses… erm, devotion.


(Note: The screenshots in this post are taken from the arcade version of Time Crisis. All screenshots are from the excellent Arcade History website:

1 Comment

Filed under 1995, 1997, Coin-Op, Light Gun Game, Namco, Playstation

#13: Duck Hunt

Format: NES Genre: Light Gun Game Released: 1987 Developer: Nintendo

Duck Hunt’s a bit of an odd inclusion for this list, chiefly because I don’t actually think it’s a particularly good game. However, despite its dull repetitiveness, it did make my life slightly better, so it’s in.


The reason it made my life slightly better is that it was one of the first games to be truly accessible to ‘non-gamers’ and, as such, was a game you could talk about to your girlfriend without inducing some sort of gamerspeak-related catatonic state. Admittedly, games like Pong and Space Invaders were trailblazers in terms of their instant accessibility, but most games still require a little bit of gaming knowhow to be able to get into them.

Think of the Zelda games for example: even though they’re amongst the most accessible RPGs, the player is still expected to be aware of certain gaming tropes. I mean, how would you know to go inside people’s house and break open vases to look for treasure? It doesn’t really make any sense from an outsider’s perspective. I mean, how many people hide their treasure in vases? And isn’t it just plain stealing? However, as a gamer you’re expected to know that this is the done thing.


For my generation, Duck Hunt was the great leveller: long before the Wii was a twinkle in the eye of randy old Mr Nintendo, here was a game that you could wheel out at Christmas and play with your Great Aunt with absolutely minimum preamble required.

“Here’s a big plastic orange gun Auntie. Now shoot ducks.”

As opposed to:

“Ok, now go into the house. No, the house … It’s A, press A. No that’s B … OK, you’re in, now hit that vase with your sword. Why? Look, just do it, OK? No, it’s B this time … OK, now pick up the rupees. What? No it’s not stealing! … Well, I don’t know who they belong to, they’re just there! … OK, OK, I’ll put Duck Hunt back on…”


Actually, this game is quite a bloodthirsty concept really, when you think about it. I mean, shooting ducks and then having their dead bodies triumphantly displayed to you by your faithful hunting dog… it’s hardly fun and games in the Mushroom Kingdom of Love, is it? Look at the duck on the front cover for chrissakes, it’s crying in fear! Those poor, poor ducks, dying for our pleasure… Still, at least there was the option of shooting clay pigeons to assuage the guilt.


Anyway, I digress. Back to the point. Duck Hunt made my life slightly better chiefly for the reason that it bridged the gap between gamer and non-gamer, and I’m constantly surprised by how often it crops up in conversation about childhood pursuits. The unprecedented furore that greeted the arrival of Wii Play in our house is testament to Duck Hunt’s enduring legacy: neither of us were interested in the other minigames, we just made a beeline straight for the Duck-Hunt-style shooting game.


So there you have it: Duck Hunt made my life better for the simple reason that it has engendered peace and harmony across the world thanks to its simple, dynamic gameplay. Or something. Also, the gun looked really cool.


At the time, anyway.


(NES screenshots from The Video Game Museum:


Filed under 1987, Light Gun Game, NES, Nintendo