Nintendo’s 1976 Toy ‘Beam Gun Duck Hunt’, With Spanish-Language Instructions

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In 1976, just before it got into the video game business, Nintendo released another toy in its famous “Beam Gun” series of electronic light-gun games. You might have heard the name before, because it was called Duck Hunt.

Yes, the famous NES game that came nearly a decade later was based on this toy, which projected duck-like light patterns on a wall that you could “shoot” with the Beam Gun. I have wanted one of these for a long time. There was always one in the Akihabara store Super Potato, but it wasn’t for sale. Once I came across a pair of these in the store Friends, but they were both busted and the guy wanted about $150 for the pair. I passed, worried about bringing such fragile things (they used a lightbulb!) home in my luggage. And I’ve regretted it ever since.

So recently I saw that one was up for open auction on eBay, from a seller in Venezuela. I won it, it came in today, and although the box is coming apart at the seams, the rest of it is beautiful, and I don’t think it’s ever been used:

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But here’s the crazy part: It came with a set of Spanish-language instructions. (In a true test of prioritizing preservation over collectible value, I took the staple out to scan these.)

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Much like the Rifle-Roulette set I posted about last year, this is proof that old Nintendo toys were, somehow, distributed outside of Japan and into the West. Now, I have no idea where this instruction sheet came from. The Rifle-Roulette English language instruction manual showed signs that it was produced in Japan, like the fact that it referred to battery types by their Japanese names, not their American ones. But this looks much more handmade, so it’s not likely that Nintendo made it.

But it’s really interesting to think that kids in South America were playing with Gunpei Yokoi’s Japanese toy designs a decade before the NES.

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