Review: 16 Shot! Shooting Watch (DSiWare)

Rhymes with "tap"

In one of bumbling cartoon father Homer Simpson's humorously ineffective attempts to please his children, he hands his son Bart a pen to click as an alternative to annoying his sister Lisa by purposely squeaking his chair. Of course, the clicking only makes things worse, but the coup de grace is when Homer proclaims, "Hey, that looks like fun!" and, taking another pen from his pocket, challenges Bart to a race. Click click click click click.

Welcome to 16 Shot! Shooting Watch, in which you too can experience the joy of rapid tapping. Finally, Americans can try out the type of basically useless application that Europe has been blessed with, seeing such memorable titles as Flashlight and Discolight.

To be fair, a few may be able to eke some worth out of this outmoded utility. It's a virtual version of a tool originally released by Hudson in 1987 to count the amount of times that one could press a button in ten seconds. If you're completely baffled, think of what games people would have enjoyed at the time; quite a few, such as Star Soldier and Space Invaders, required the player to click as quickly as possible. While many still enjoy the genre, the most popular method of obtaining a high score no longer involves spending a quarter for each try. Making title-earning a less expensive affair might have been one reason to invest in this, but of course that no longer applies. It's debatable whether just playing an actual game would be a more or less effective option, but it would undoubtedly be a lot more fun. Is this program beginning to sound obsolete? It certainly feels that way.

The straight-out-of-1987 interface features a digital counter and clock on the top screen and a graph below that charts how well you're doing per second and in total. You can choose to tap A or to alternate between A and B for either ten or five seconds (sprint mode!). Afterwards you're ranked in a list of the top four high scores and can sign your name with the stylus. There's also a stopwatch and, for those with the patience to unlock it, a slot machine simulator. It's all presented in a quite bare-bones fashion, without anything really added to the simple experience you would have had with the original machine.

This style is perfectly fitting for 16 Shot because it's too niche for anyone who hasn't heard of it before to appreciate it. Hudson makes no effort to explain the application's purpose or even what "16 Shot" means, something that you might be wondering yourself by now. It refers to Takahashi Meijin, a.k.a. Master Higgins, who set the record of sixteen button presses in one second and went on to spiritually star in Adventure Island. Here he'll hold the top spot on the appropriate high score list as a constant reminder of your own limitations.

For those to whom attaining fame at Twin Galaxies, the local arcade, among your siblings or in your own deluded head is worth the trouble of using such an application, then, this might be useful. A cursory search of YouTube reveals that there are still those out there who find the original device to be quite cool and even practical. Over twenty years after Shooting Watch's debut, however, we at Nintendo Life ask for more than a tap counter to satisfy our score improvement needs. Surely with the technology of today, Hudson could think up a more entertaining way to help us improve our arcade efficacy. There's not even any technique to this, only a trial and error test of tapping styles and a simplistic drill in finger fitness. Clearly, the goal here is not to provide for contemporary audiences what the original Shooting Watch did for that of yesteryear but instead to give a handful of master blasters a nostalgic kick. Only this, and nothing more.

Conclusion

This is an obsolete high-score improvement tool good for little more than nostalgia. Hudson utilises none of the advantages of today's technology to make 16 Shot attractive or applicable to current gamers or to improve on the original design of twenty-three years ago. Besides the slightly redeeming stopwatch function, this program is basically pointless.

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