I was obsessed with shooting games when I was a kid. When we went to arcades or any places that had games with guns, I would spend my time pretend playing. Just holding the gun, shooting at the screen and making shooting sounds. It was the best activity for a kid who didn’t have any quarters. Although it was probably annoying for people waiting to play the game.
When I was not pretending to play shooting games, I was often staring at them in catalogs. And my family had a lot of catalogs. Sadly at some point most of those catalogs went in the trash. A few, the ones I kept in my bedroom, managed to survive. Several times a year I will pull one out and look on what the consumer market offering all those years ago.
Today, I would like to take a look back on the fabulous shooting games of the 1981 JC Penney Catalog. They had seven target based shooting games that year. Several of which I would encounter over the years. As the catalog says, the one thing they all have in common?
The Buck Rogers Target Game
I had some exposure to the Buck Rogers Target Game as a kid. It was one of the cooler looking shooting games in the catalog. What made it extra special? It could do double duty as a play set for your action figures. What a bargain!
The Light Show Target Game
I always thought that this one looked like someone hung a Simon on the wall. It looks pretty boring from this image. But this thing was over 52 bucks in early 80’s dollars. So I assume the light show or its accuracy was something special.
Quickfire was the second game on this list I played with as a kid. Things did not go well. So I don’t really want to talk about it. I can say this, it was an amazing shooting game before I broke it.
Two Person Skeet Shooting
While I never played Skeet Shooting at home, I did play it in arcades. It was fun, but usually degenerated into trying to shoot my friends instead of the targets. This is probably why they needed to reassure parents that this was just safe light being shot by these guns.
Space Shoot Out
Space Shoot Out’s rifle is marvelous! It has that 70’s style science fiction quality that I am still a big fan of. Plus you can remove the butt on the rifle! That is some toy magic. Something this cool, that only costs 15 bucks, just screams poor quality. So it is good they made the gun so cool since the game would probably be broken in about an hour.
Stellar War sort of has some Star Wars styling, but I am not sure I would classify it as a knockoff. The best thing about this photo? Two pistols! Boom! Boom! Look at me, I am a dual-pistol-wielding space smuggler fighting in the Stellar War. I act like I don’t care, but actually I do.
Tin Can Alley
I must have played Tin Can Alley at about every one of my friend’s homes. This classic was a catalog staple and a lot of fun to play. Since it always seems to work pretty well. I also noted that there was some variation in the cans. So you could have a Pepsi alley, or a generic beer can alley. This catalog entry features Dr. Pepper. A beverage I don’t love to drink, but I love to shoot.