Thursday, September 11, 2014

Searching for Mr. Peepers

At the risk of alienating certain kinds nerds in an effort to talk to other kinds of nerds, I’ll just say this up front: This post is about Duck Hunt.

modified from sprites found here
“But Duck Hunt came out in 1984, Drew, you crazy idiot. Why bring it up today?”

And to that, I’d simply say that you’re not up to date on your video game news. Now who’s the crazy idiot? There’s been info floating around online recently about Duck Hunt, and before I go further, I should probably give a Smash Bros.-related spoiler warning. (I guess? Even though the game doesn’t have a plot to speak of?) But it looks like the dog from Duck Hunt will playable in the new Smash Bros. game, meaning that you can play as Mario or Link or Pikachu and then wail on the obnoxious dog who used to laugh at you for not killing enough ducks.

Oddly enough, the dog seems to be entering the fray in partnership with one of the ducks, suggesting that past sins have been forgiven.

via tiny cartridge
via tiny cartridge

But here’s the odd thing: A few different websites reporting this news point out that the dog is maybe, possibly, sometimes called Mr. Peepers. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why this would be.

I myself noted this in a blog post back in 2009 about how there’s a special arcade version of Duck Hunt that allows you to shoot the dog. (WHO’S LAUGHING NOW, DOG????) But I stupidly neglected to source that information when I posted and am now unsure where I heard it. When I search around online now, I can only find Smash Bros. stuff and other people wondering how the hell anyone decided to start calling the dog Mr. Peepers — on Wikipedia and on GameFAQs.

The closest to anything useful I can find is this NeoGAF post. It’s just a simple link to a Nintendo World Report article about the development of the original Kid Icarus, and it only mentions the Duck Hunt dog once — and not by name. But there’s a few responses with people commenting how they were surprised to learn that the dog had a name, so I’d guess that the article edited out that info, for some reason. ‘ In any case, my post on the dog went up before the NeoGAF post and the Nintendo World Report article, but wherever I found the mention of Mr. Peepers is gone too.

So the question remains: Why the hell does anyone think the dog from Duck Hunt is named Mr. Peepers?

It remains to be seen how the dog will be named when Nintendo makes the official announcement about the character. As far as names go, Mr. Peepers at least sounds better that “that damn laughing dog from Duck Hunt,” and certainly better than how he seems to be labeled in the Japanese version of the new Smash Bros. — just as “Duck Hunt.” Maybe it sounds better over there?

EDIT February 27, 2015: I just game across this Gamespot article from 2006 that notes the dog’s name as being Mr. Peepers. Can’t say this is where I found it, but at least I know I wasn’t the only one under the impression that this was the dog’s name.

Nintendo obscurities, previously:

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