Classic game of the month: Big Buck Hunter

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When you start to think carefully about classic arcade games, it becomes pretty easy to separate titles into their respective genres. You've got your racing games, fighting games and of course your stock-standard shoot-em-up action thrillers, but what about the experiences that don't fall so easily into these boxes? 

Big Buck Hunter is one such title, and according to Gamespot it may just be Australia's favourite arcade game. So, what's this classic all about, and what category does it fall into? 

Bucking the trend

Big Buck Hunter aims to recreate the experience of stalking your prey and closing in for the perfect shoot - classic American vistas included. But whether you're prowling after ducks or the Big Buck itself, there's something special that separates the title from other so-called 'hunting' games. In a nutshell, what makes this game so great is the hunt itself, which really puts the player in the mindset of a lonely soul, straying alone in the southern plains, rather than simply focusing on the shooting. 

For this reason, Big Buck Hunter has developed an enormous following since its release by Play Mechanix in the early 2000s. Of course, it does attract plenty of players who really do hunt - with the New York Times even identifying several who turn up to the arcade in full camo getup. For others, including plenty who have never held a gun and never intend to, the game is simply a fun experience, especially with its keen focus on competition between players. 

Can you stomach the buck?

As we've seen with a lot of classic arcade games, Big Buck Hunter has become something of a competitive sport amongst the very best players. You may just find that when you settle in at the console, you only get a few rounds in before somebody comes along and challenges you to a 'buck-off'. The modern versions of the game do feature online leaderboards, but for our money there's still nothing better than good old-fashioned turn-taking to work out who the true champion is. 

While the hunter genre was quite popular back in the noughties, it certainly seems to have dropped off somewhat, but Big Buck Hunter remains the roaring exception. Maybe it's the atmosphere, or perhaps the way it sucks players in and sets them against each other for a rollicking good time.

Either way, you'd best head down to your local Playtime centre and test it out for yourself. Happy hunting!