“Duck Hunt” first arrived with the Zapper gun in 1984 in Japan and reached American homes by 1985. However, the legacy behind the gun used with games like “Duck Hunt“ can be traced back to the 1930s, when the first “light guns” were created. These light guns used phototubes or vacuum tubes capable of detecting light.
The earliest known light gun game, Ray-O-Lite, was introduced in 1936 by Seeburg, a company that specialized in producing components and systems for jukeboxes. In this game, players used a light-emitting gun to shoot at small, moving targets with photoelectric sensors. Whenever the beam of light from the gun struck a sensor on the target, the game could detect it. A similar principle set the stage for the Zapper gun used to play “Duck Hunt.”
By the 1970s, video games with light guns became slightly more popular, thanks to the Magnavox Odyssey video game system. However, they failed to become a hit because the gaming system was only compatible with Magnavox TVs.