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