Anyone who’s spent even a moderate amount of time in bars or movie theater lobbies should be well acquainted with Cabela’s line of hunting games. They’re hard to resist for a number of reasons — the big orange guns, the five to ten minutes of guaranteed play-time you get for your dollar, the fact that these days they’re the only game in most arcades less than 10-years old. We’ve all played them (often while inebriated), but did you know they actually make home versions of these games?
Yes, believe it or not some people choose to sit at home on their couches and play Cabela’s hunting games. Playing a Cabela’s title without wing sauce on your fingers or screaming kids waiting for the latest Pokemon movie behind you just seems wrong, but maybe that’s just me. The games actually sell pretty well, but only to a small, dedicated niche of hunting game enthusiasts — your average gamer remains happily ignorant of Cabela’s steady stream of home hunting titles.
So why am I even bringing the series up? Well, because while most of us weren’t paying attention Cabela’s hunting games have stopped taking their meds and gone completely batshit insane. If you don’t believe me, just hit the jump.
Things first started going wrong with the release of Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts in 2003. In the past your typical Cabela’s game featured hordes of deer and other tasty looking animals passively wandering across the screen just waiting to be shot, but Dangerous Hunts changed all this. Now nature in the form of bears, lions, hyenas, leopards and yetis (yes, these games let you hunt the abominable snowman) was out to murder you at every possible opportunity.
Nature wants your blood.
With 2005’s Dangerous Hunts 2 they even added storylines to the games, which only heightened the sense of absurdity. Blowing away hordes of wolves, bears and crazed hippos in isolated arcade challenges is one thing, but when you tie it all together with a storyline it makes you ask a lot of questions. Like, why is literally every even remotely dangerous animal on the planet trying to kill your character constantly? I’m fairly sure most of the guys behind the development of the Dangerous Hunts series must have been born in pods and never allowed outside. It’s the only way to explain the ridiculous fear of nature evident in their games. Just check out the trailer for Dangerous Hunts 2011 — this game was not developed by human beings with a regular well-adjusted relationship to mother earth.
So yeah, that was pretty crazy huh? Well, that’s nothing. This year Cabela’s and Activision (the publisher of these nutty games) have managed to top themselves with the recently released Cabela’s Survival: Shadows of Katmai, a title that re-imagines the hunting game as a third-person survival horror experience.
Holy crap, that bear is the new “Chainsaw Guy” from Resident Evil 4. You know, I have to admit — it took the series completely losing it’s marbles to convince me, but for the first time I’m actually kind of interested in playing a hunting game at home. Maybe Cabela’s isn’t so crazy after all.