When the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) debuted in North America in the fall of 1985, one of the original games packaged with the console was Duck Hunt. According to former Nintendo employee Gail Tilden, Duck Hunt was an example of a "pick up and play game." Players pointed the Zapper light gun at their television screen, aimed at the waterfowl, and fired.
It was intuitive: There wasn't any real need to read the instruction manual. If they had, maybe minds wouldn't have been blown to the degree they were this week when actor Seth Rogen casually tweeted that most of us have been playing the game all wrong for the past three decades.
Duck Hunt, for those of you who barely remember or were prohibited from having an NES, was a rudimentary shooting game that left everyone but the person holding the Zapper slightly bored. Being able to use a second controller to change the duck's flight pattern would have added some degree of tension in the living room. Judging from the online reaction, most people didn't realize this was an option.
The manual [PDF] makes mention of it, indicating that the control pad is "Used with Game A [one duck] for second player to control duck's flight pattern." The duck can be manipulated vertically and horizontally until the color of the sky changes, at which point the animal automatically flies away to safety and the player controlling the duck has won.
This may or may not compel people to drag their NES consoles from basements to try it for themselves. Just don't expect any more startling revelations: Despite urban legends, players have never been able to shoot the smug dog laughing at their ineptitude.