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Video Game / Hogan's Alley

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Hogan's Alley is a 1984 Nintendo title for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was one of the first light-gun games for the console. Hogan's Alley was one of the 18 "black box" launch titles for the NES in North America.

Hogan's Alley is a simple game where the player is in a simulated shooting gallery. There are three cardboard cutouts at given time, changed to five in later rounds. The player must shoot the gangsters but not the civilians or police.

The title of the game comes from the real "Hogan's Alley", which was a shooting range on Camp Perry, a training facility for the National Guard of the United States. It was closed during World War II. A later version was opened in 1987 for FBI trainees.

Hogan's Alley was available on both the NES and the arcade Nintendo VS System. An updated version that uses the Wii remote's motion-sensing technology was released for the Wii U Virtual Console as well. The game has appeared in several WarioWare titles, and the Duck Hunt Dog in Super Smash Bros. uses moves that reference the game.

Hogan's Alley contains examples of:

  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Deliberately averted with most targets, since "Professor" and "Police" share the same red/black and black/blue palettes as the enemy cutouts, making you more likely to screw up when determining which kind you're about to shoot. The "Lady" target, on the other hand, uses a unique pink and brown palette, so you have to be pretty careless to shoot her by mistake.

  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Gang B is a fedora-and-trenchcoat baddie straight out of a film noir flick.

  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: One of the gangsters has dark undereyes.

  • Endless Game: The game doesn't have any sort of ending — it just loops until you finally either shoot 10 innocents, fail to shoot 10 criminals, or fail to get 10 cans on the platforms.

  • Failed a Spot Check: If you don't look closely (and the game doesn't give you much time to look closely), it's easy to mistake Gang B for the Professor, or vice versa, since both wear dark brown outfits. Likewise with Gang C and the Police, who both wear black.

  • Game-Breaking Bug: Less an actual "bug" than an issue caused by changes in technology: the NES version of Hogan's Alley cannot be played without the NES Zapper. The Zapper does not work with modern flat-screen HDTVs, so playing the game on a modern display is impossible (see also Technology Marches On on the Trivia page).

  • High Scores: The NES game shows the top score from your current play session on the title screen, but there isn't a traditional "high score" screen with initials. Its arcade counterpart, Vs. Hogan's Alley, does have a high-score screen.

  • Light Gun Game: An early, stationary example. It's simpler than most later light-gun games.

  • No Name Given: The characters are called "Gang A", "Gang B", "Gang C", "Lady", "Professor" and "Police".

  • Shooting Gallery: ''Hogan's Alley" has three modes. Mode A is an extremely simple reflex-based shooting gallery where a lineup of three characters appear at once, and you have only a moment to shoot the criminals while sparing the innocents. Mode B is similar, except the characters appear in random locations of a city-based background. Mode C, or "Trick Shot," ditches the criminals altogether and asks to to keep cans in the air by shooting them until you can guide them to a platform.
  • Sinister Shades: As seen in the image, Gang-C has a pair of sunglasses.

  • Stock Costume Traits: The only traits the characters have are signaled by their clothing. Gang A looks like a mugger/junkie/drug dealer with his leather jacket and unkempt appearance, Gang B looks like a villain from a film noir in his trenchcoat and fedora, and Gang C looks like a member of a powerful crime syndicate in his black suit.

  • The Mafia: Gang C is very much the archetype of the suit-clad, tommygun-toting, cigar-chomping mobster.