May 24, 2011
Big Buck Hunter Game Draws Following from NYC Bar Crowd
By Chad Love
Here's one from the "So That's Why the Field & Stream Offices are in New York" files. It seems big-game hunting is a big-time activity in the Big Apple.
From this story in the New York Times (hat tip to Southern Rockies Nature Blog for the find):
Little about Alex DerHohannesian suggests “video game champion.” A virile 30-year-old television producer, he lives on the Upper West Side, starred on the club hockey team at the University of Kentucky and bears a strong resemblance to Ryan Gosling. But his friends know him as DerHo, one of the world’s best players of Big Buck Hunter, an arcade hunting game that enjoys a rabid following among trendy urbanites who most likely have never held a gun.
The game is essentially an advanced version of Duck Hunter: players compete solo or head-to-head using two plastic rifles to see who can kill the most wildebeest or 14-point bucks. Most of the country’s 18,000-plus coin-operated machines are connected to an online network on which fans can compare scores. And yet the game maintains an analog social appeal; it’s played primarily in bars by rowdy groups of people in their 20s and early 30s. Big Buck Hunter boasts a following in places like Texas and Minnesota, where hunters are known to play in full camouflage.
But the game, which was developed in 2001 by Play Mechanix of Glen Ellyn, Ill., has also spawned a dedicated subculture in New York. And judging from Mr. DerHohannesian’s success, hunting experience is not required. “I’ve never really hunted before,” he said the other day at the Black Bear Lodge, a hunting-themed bar in Gramercy Park. “I shot a squirrel once for Pioneer Day in middle school. We cooked it and ate it, and it was god awful.”