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Qwak! Qwak! at Atari


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Atari forum,


 One of the games I worked on was Qwak!.  It was a duck shooting game and I

 don't recall if I made the original cabinet but Al Alcorn called me into his

 office one day to talk about the gun used to shoot the ducks.  He had found a

 source for the rifle stocks in Mexico and knowing I had once been a machinist

 asked me to fly down there to check it out to see if they could supply up to

 100 per day.  I had never done anything like this before but it was Al Alcorn

 asking so I boarded a plane at the San Jose airport a couple days later

 carrying a rifle stock wrapped in brown paper.


 I had to change planes in LAX for a plane to Lindbergh field in San Diego.  When

 I put the stock through the xray machine the operator motioned to a guard who

 came over, and with gun drawn, ordered me "up against the wall".  Apparently

 they didn't like me bringing a gun onto their plane.  I explained what it was,

 what I was doing and showed them my Atari badge.  They unwrapped the stock and

 inspected it for several minutes and sent me on my way.


 From San Diego I drove a rent-a-car across the border to the wood shop which

 wasn't much more than a barn with a dirt floor.  There were 10-12 tracer

 lathes all running and all producing the same part.  There were boxes and boxes

 of finished parts stacked around the barn.  The man who owned the shop spoke

 perfect English, took the stock I had, set it up in one of the tracer lathes and

 made one in a few minutes.  I knew they could supply all we needed. I left

 the stock there not wanting to get put "up against the wall" on the way back.


 After that the gun became my project.  All the electrical engineering had been

 done but I worked on the cable harness, holster and a method of securing it to

 the cabinet so it wouldn't get stolen.  When that was done I got the game ready

 for production.


 Qwak! only sold about 250 units even though it was a good game.  When a duck

 was shot out of the air it spun down to the bottom of the screen and a dog

 would run along the bottom, grab the dead duck and drag it off the screen.

 I heard one time that the biggest complaint was that the player couldn't

 shoot the dog.




awesome, that is where the idea for duck hunt came from on the nes. i wish i had the source code for Qwak.






22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079

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 In those days we didn't use microprocessors so

 the games were all hardware and no software.



wow, no wonder they were heavy. i have taken a few apart. its all greek to me:)





22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079

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That's really awesome. Thanks for sharing the story. I came across a QWAK back in 2009 at an arcade that was in the process of opening. We went through each game one by one to see what it's status was - there was A LOT of Atari history in there: Space Race (non-fiberglass version; was missing the joysticks), Gran Trak 10, Sprint 2, SteepleChase (this was one of the few that worked), Indy 400, Tank cocktail, Airborne Avenger and a few others that I can't recall at the moment.


The QWAK powered up but only just; you could hear the electronic duck call weakly trying to make a noise but that was it. Unfortunately I never saw the game working to see it in action. The gun was impressive and I had wondered since where those had come from as I had assumed Atari had re-purposed old BB guns or something. Good to hear the story set straight ;)


Also surprising was the size of the cabinet - very short, great for kids. 

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