A Game Unremembered: Glitch Hunting in Duck Dodgers for the Nintendo 64

Box art of Duck Dodgers: Starring Daffy Duck, also known as Duck Dodgers and the 24th and a Half Century

Box art of Duck Dodgers: Starring Daffy Duck, also known as Duck Dodgers and the 24th and a Half Century

As a child, I would love going to Blockbuster on the weekends with my parents. Those feelings of excitement and comfort that I had exploring the wondrous isles cannot be replicated nowadays due to the dominating convenience of rentals through modern technology. I was often allowed to rent one game per week, and only having a Nintendo 64 my choices were limited in quantity (but certainly not quality).

One weekend a particular game caught my eye, Duck Dodgers and the 24th and a Half Century, based on the 1953 animated short of the same name. I was familiar with Daffy Duck and the Looney Toons, so I decided to check it out at my parents' discretion. This would go on to be one of the holy grails I would rent multiple weeks in a row due to my love for it. Gameplay-wise, it was comparable to other open world collect-a-thons the Nintendo 64 birthed. While it was not as grandiose as Banjo-Kazooie or Super Mario 64, it certainly was something captivating. The difficulty was a tad strong for 7-year-old me, but I felt compelled to 100% Duck Dodgers, something which was rare for me at the time.

Fast forward to recent years. I frequent Twitch and usually leave speedruns on in the background for passive entertainment and noise. The act of speedrunning is beating a video game as fast as possible. Whether this goal comes about as the developers intended or by abusing gameplay mechanics is dependant on the game and particular rules set for it. It comes as no surprise that someone who likes seeing their favorite games being played in new, sometimes bizarre, ways would be curious enough to watch one of the 'Duck. I was shocked to discover just how few people actually speedrun it. There are only two documented runners, in particular. While the game may be overwhelmingly alright in retrospect (with mixed reviews from critics), it has everything older games that attract hundreds, if not thousands, of runners look for in a speedgame: tight execution, glitches, collectibles, and not being unbearably long. It has interesting environments and varied gameplay mechanics, so I am quite curious why this has not picked up much traction.

Regardless, I have been playing the game again myself with the sole intention of trying to find as many exploits and glitches as I can. I feel that if I am able to bring significant contributions to the game to make it more exciting, then perhaps it will catch the eyes of more people. Not even from a speedrun stance, this game's legacy is minuscule compared to other, arguably worse, games on the console. I find breaking a game that has not been cracked too wide open fun and exciting. Playing a game from a new perspective reintroduces that childhood fascination, albeit in a different way. I am playing out of curiosity and nostalgia. Further, tapping in to a relateively unanalized game is a speedrunner's dream; I am sitting on a potential goldmine of breakthroughs.

I am posting my findings and musings on my YouTube channel. My most recent video covers an oddity I found in one of the levels that derives from the programmers being lazy and taking a shortcut with their code. As far as I am aware, it serves no benefit in a speedrun as it is simply a mis-animation, though I find it humorous.

If you have not, I encourage you to give this unremembered game a try if you enjoy 3D platforming Nintendo 64 games with the quirky charm you would come to expect from Looney Toons. Who knows, maybe one day we will see this game at a future GDQ!