Keep­ing an eye on the coin-op gam­ing scene

It’s been 15 years since Big Buck Hunter first hit ar­cades, and this lat­est re­lease shows pre­cisely what the mak­ers of a game in this fusti­est of gen­res feel they have to do to re­main rel­e­vant af­ter all that time. Now run­ning in 1080p, as the name sug­gests, and on an 80-inch mon­i­tor, Big Buck HD Wild uses an In­ter­net con­nec­tion for DLC up­dates, real­time mul­ti­player match­mak­ing, shar­ing your re­sults on Face­book and Twit­ter, na­tional leader­board rank­ings, and also pro­cess­ing credit card pay­ments.

Of course, not even a gi­ga­bit con­nec­tion could turn a light­gun game into any­thing other than a light­gun game. As ever, the ob­jec­tive in the main mode is to down three bucks with­out killing any does, although here the ac­tion is set in 9,000BC, your prey is the long-ex­tinct Ir­ish Elk, and you’re dis­tracted by on­rush­ing sabre-tooth tigers. Else­where, a bonus game riffs on 1990s digitised shoot­ing gal­leries, while one side mode of­fers a li­censed hookup with popular US re­al­ity show Duck Dy­nasty.

All told, it’s a fine way of ex­plain­ing what’s kept Big Buck games in­stalled in US sports bars for the past decade and a half, but Wild’s other head­line­grab­bing ad­di­tion is about as unimag­i­na­tive as light­gun games get. Yup, there’s a zom­bies mode. OK, there may be a the­mat­i­cally ap­pro­pri­ate riff on the idea – with zom­bie chick­ens, rac­coons, deer and bears join­ing the lum­ber­ing un­dead – but it’s a strange thing to see in a game whose suc­cess is due in large part to of­fer­ing some­thing that other cabs don’t.

Game BigBuck­HDWild Man­u­fac­turer Play Mechanix, Raw Thrills

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