The Surprising Comic Origins of a Classic Nintendo Video Game

This is Foggy Ruins of TIme, a feature that provides the cultural context behind certain comic book characters/behaviors. You know, the sort of then-topical references that have faded into the "foggy ruins of time." To wit, twenty years from now, a college senior watching episodes of Seinfeld will likely miss a lot of the then-topical pop culture humor (like the very specific references in "The Understudy" to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding scandal).

Today is a slightly different approach to the typical "Foggy Ruins of Time," in the sense that this time the comic IS the obscure reference that has been lost to the foggy ruins of time!

"Hogan’s Alley" was a popular Nintendo video game that came out in 1984.

It was one of the very first video games where you would use the Nintendo “gun” to shoot at stuff on the screen. In this case, it was a galley of bad guys mixed with good guys…

The game was based on the real life Hogan’s Alley, which was an FBI training ground in Camp Perry in Ohio that used a town as a simulated training ground for agents. Today, Hogan’s Alley is set up in the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia…

If you noticed, the video game specifically mentioned the FBI connection in the back of the video game box.

However, the FBI, of course, named their training complex after…Hogan’s Alley, the famous home of the famous comic strip character, the Yellow Kid (which was created by Richard Outcault)!

The FBI freely admits to lifting the name from the strip, stating on their website:

Curious where we got the name Hogan’s Alley? Turns out, we borrowed it from the “Hogan’s Alley” comic strip of the late 1800s. The alley was located in a rough neighborhood, so we thought the name fit our crime-ridden town.

Thanks to my buddy, Jeff Ryan, for suggesting this one to me years ago. You can check out Jeff's book about Nintendo here.

If anyone else has any other suggestions for obscure pop culture (or historical) references in old comic books, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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