Duck Hunt and the “Grandma’s Basement” Effect – Games Done Legit

When people see Duck Hunt on an old tube TV in the middle of a special event in 20xx, I think I can best describe their reaction as the “Grandma’s basement” effect.

For so many of us, your (or your friend’s) Grandma’s basement or living room was a place for fun. We think of how much they loved us, and how fun a trip there was, and how much we enjoyed running around and playing, without a care in the world.

You probably also remember a few unique odors.

And that upholstery.

'80s basement

Do you remember those old wood-encased CRT “tube TVs”?

For a ton of kids in the ’80s, that was also where you spent hours on that TV, making these strong memories and connections with their first videogames when you weren’t playing outside.

41 million households got Duck Hunt free with their NES, along with Super Mario Bros.

While the B-side of Super Mario Bros. / Duck Hunt lay forgotten in the Hatala household, millions of kids (and adults!) were playing the hell out of it. (A new game cost $111.32 in today’s dollars!)

Mario Duck Hunt title screen

The most famous title screen of all time

Flash forward to when I started running bar entertainment as Games Done Legit in 2013.

I had no idea that millions — and I mean millions — of people hold these pixely ducks and that damn dog so closely to their heart.

Duck Hunt laughing dog

An entire generation seems to hate this guy. So much so that an entire VR horror game was created around him.

If you want to see 40-year-old’s face light up like a six-year-old on Christmas, show them Duck Hunt and a Zapper lightgun and that TV.

Some things just take you back to childhood, when you had no bills, no worries, no corporate ladder to climb. That’s why people spend ridiculous money on nostalgia. People in the end all really just want to be happy.

I love the business of special events. For three hours, we aim to inject a little extra happiness into the workplace.

Lubrizol Games Done Legit team building Duck Hunt station

Our sharpshooting winners at the GDL Cleveland Corporate Challenge Videogame Gauntlet

Gradually, I began to understand just how deep these emotional attachments to childhood videogames run.

At events, people can’t help but share their stories with me about they discovered Ms. Pac-Man at the local laundromat or how they played Mario Kart 64 with their siblings/neighbors for hours on end.

I googled

I googled “Laundromat Arcade” and sure enough,  the 2nd image has Ms. Pac-Man. It was a thing.

Everyone has their own unique story!

I don’t mean disrespect to my talented friends in the DJ business, but I’ve never heard someone say, “Whoa, they got a DJ and lighting!” at a special event.

But I hear “Whoa, they have … !” followed by “Duck Hunt!” “Aladdin!” “Mario Kart!” every single event we do.

That’s pretty cool, and honestly sustains me through all the non-so-fun parts of running your own business. It means my passion will never run dry as long as I’m getting smiles this big as feedback.

Shameless plug. But look at just how friggin’ happy all these people are to be playing games for a few moments!

It’s an exciting time to be in the events business because good companies understand that we have to keep employees happy. Happy people means less turnover and better output. Happiness saves the company a lot of money.

Space Quest 3 Office Game Company

An accurate portrayal of the office of an ’80s Japanese videogame company.

As we prepare for NOHRC 2020 (Northeast Ohio’s biggest tradeshow for HR professionals, put on by the wonderful leaders of Cleveland SHRM), I hope we can deliver these feelings of Grandma’s basement — fun, camaraderie, and the freedom of being a kid — to many an office this year.

It’s what my Grandpa would have wanted.

Duck Hunt Cornhole

Chris Hatala and Games Done Legit bring smiles to the workplace through videogaming, virtual reality, and digital experiences that bring us together.

Specializing in Employee Appreciation, Team Building, and Training, thousands have enjoyed Chris’s events since 2006.

Can we help with ideas for your next event? By all means, contact us right now!

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TELL US ABOUT YOUR EVENT AND WE'LL MAKE IT HAPPEN!