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Looking for a definitive answer, this is a bit of a gentleman's bet at the heart of it, but I would love an authoritative answer.

Is it possible to use the second controller to control the ducks in duckhunt?

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thanks @sjohnston and @Raven on account of I asked from my iPhone ;) – jcolebrand Mar 31 '11 at 1:03
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Yes, player 2 can control the duck when there is only one. See

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The link says it "works when one or two ducks are on the screen." – Nick T Mar 29 '11 at 15:42
Yeah, that conflicts with my memory. But either way, at least one duck can be controlled. – Matthew Read Mar 29 '11 at 15:48

Yes. I extensively remember annoying my father one evening, so I have no doubts.

A player could control the duck in the game that only had one duck at a time. This was documented in the game's manual. To clarify: in the two-duck game, after shooting one duck, you could not control the remaining duck. The duck would still do what it wanted to, to some degree, but a person could very heavily influence the duck's general direction by holding a direction on the NES game pad. If you had the duck go in the same direction for too long, it would change directions and may fly towards the center of the screen. But, then, after its brief moment of independence, it would respond to the direction that the player was holding.

Technically, I almost want to say the answer to your question is "No", because the duck controlling was done with the FIRST player's controller port. The Zapper was plugged into the second controller port. So, you did have two ways to control a duck with that input device. If you miss enough times, your controller two input caused the ducks to fly straight upwards, off of the screen. Or, for those who can aim better, the only other way to "control" a duck with the second controller was to shoot it, causing the duck to perform the "drop dead into the ground" move. Which, I guess, technically makes the answer to your question "yes".

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