Gun Fight

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For the act of winning or losing fights with a gun, see Gunfight. For the film, see Gun Fight (film).
Gun Fight / Western Gun
Gun fight arcade flyer.jpg
Developer(s) Taito
Publisher(s) Taito (Japan & Europe)
Midway (North America)
Designer(s) Tomohiro Nishikado
Dave Nutting (US version)
Programmer(s) Tom McHugh (US version)
Series Gun Fight
Platform(s) Arcade, Bally Astrocade, Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Commodore 128
Release date(s) Arcade Astrocade Atari 2600 Atari 8-bit Commodore 64 & 128
Genre(s) Fixed shooter
Mode(s) Two-player
Cabinet Upright
CPU Discrete logic (Taito) or Intel 8080 (Midway)
Display Low resolution monochrome

Gun Fight, known as Western Gun in Japan[1] and Europe,[2] is a 1975 arcade shooter game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado,[3] and released by Taito in Japan[1] and Europe[2] and by Midway Games in North America.[1][3] The Midway US version was the first video game to use a microprocessor.[4][5] It was ported to the Bally Astrocade video game console[6] as a built-in game[7] in 1977[8] as well as several home computer platforms.[9][10]

The theme of the game involves two Old West cowboys armed with revolvers and squaring off in a duel. Whoever shoots the other cowboy first wins the duel. Unlike in a real-life duel, however, both cowboys get numerous opportunities to duel in order to score points (one point per successful draw).[1] The game was included in GameSpy's "Hall of Fame" in 2002.[11]

Gameplay and story[edit]

Western Gun was a fixed screen shooter[9] that could be played in single-player or two-player. It was the first video game to depict human-to-human combat.[5][6] When shot, the characters in the game fell to the ground and the words "GOT ME!" appeared above the body.[11] The game had two distinct joystick controls per player, with one eight-way joystick for moving the computerized cowboy around on the screen and the other for changing the shooting direction.[1][12] Unlike other dual joystick games, Western Gun has the main joystick on the right instead of the left.

Other features of the game included obstacles between the characters which block shots, such as a cactus,[13] and (in later levels) stagecoaches.[11] The guns have limited ammunition, with each player given six bullets; a round ends if both players run out of ammo.[9] Gunshots can also ricochet off the top or bottom edges of the playfield, allowing for indirect hits to be used as a possible strategy.[9][13]

Development and technology[edit]

Taito gave Western Gun artwork of cowboys in the Wild West on the video game arcade cabinet which matched the in-game graphics featuring cacti, covered wagons, rocks, and human characters. In contrast to earlier games which used miniature shapes to represent abstract blocks or spaceships, Western Gun featured cartoon-like human characters.[3]

Taito licensed its game Western Gun to Midway for release in North America, the second such license after the 1974 scrolling racing game Speed Race,[14] also designed by Tomohiro Nishikado.[15] The title Western Gun, while making perfect sense for Japanese audiences in that it conveys the setting and theme as simply as possible, was considered to have sounded odd to American audiences, so it was renamed Gun Fight instead for its American localization.[14]

Tomohiro Nishikado's original Western Gun design was based on discrete logic, like most video arcade games of the time.[3] When Dave Nutting adapted it for Midway, he decided to base it on the Intel 8080, which made Gun Fight the first video game to use a microprocessor,[4] since his company Dave Nutting Associates had already licensed the technology for the first arcade pinball machine to include a microprocessor, Spirit of '76. Nishikado believed that his original version was more fun, but was impressed with the improved graphics and smoother animation of Midway's version.[16] This led him to design microprocessors into his subsequent games, including the blockbuster 1978 shoot 'em up hit Space Invaders.[17] Gun Fight uses a black-and-white raster monitor and a yellow screen overlay.

Series[edit]

  • Western Gun / Gun Fight (1975)
  • Gunman (1977)[18]
  • Boot Hill (1977)

Ports[edit]

In 1978,[19] the game was introduced to the home market with its port to the Bally Astrocade console,[6] which included a color version of the game within the system's ROM.[20] That same year, David Crane programmed his own version of the game, entitled Outlaw, released by Atari for the Atari 2600 console[21] and by APX for the Atari 8-bit computers.[22] Sears also released a version for the Atari 2600 called Gunslinger that year.[23]

In 1981, the game was ported to the Atari 8-bit family personal computers by Hofacker / Elcomp Publishing.[24] In 1983, Epyx also ported Gun Fight and another Midway game, Sea Wolf II, to the Atari 8-bit family, and released them in an "Arcade Classics" compilation.[10] In 1987, Interceptor Software ported Gun Fight to the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computers.[25]

Popular culture[edit]

The opening chiptune used in Gun Fight[26] is sampled by the hit 1978 song "Computer Game" by Yellow Magic Orchestra.[27]

In the hit 1978 movie Dawn of the Dead, Peter and FlyBoy are playing this game, among others, at the mall arcade.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Stephen Totilo (August 31, 2010). "In Search Of The First Video Game Gun". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-03-27. 
  2. ^ a b "Western Gun". The Arcade Flyer Archive. Killer List of Video Games. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  3. ^ a b c d Chris Kohler (2005), "Chapter 2: An Early History of Cinematic Elements in Video Games", Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 18, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1, retrieved 2011-03-27 
  4. ^ a b Steve L. Kent (2001), The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond : the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world, p. 64, Prima, ISBN 0-7615-3643-4
  5. ^ a b Cassidy, William (May 6, 2002). "Gun Fight". GameSpy. Retrieved 14 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Shirley R. Steinberg (2010), Shirley R. Steinberg, Michael Kehler, Lindsay Cornish, ed., Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia 1, ABC-CLIO, p. 451, ISBN 0-313-35080-9, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  7. ^ Mini-micro systems, Volume 11. Cahners Publishing. 1978. p. 46. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Gunfight (Astrocade)". GameFAQs. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Gun Fight at AllGame
  10. ^ a b "Atarimania - Arcade Classics: Sea Wolf II / Gun Fight". Retrieved 2011-02-01. 
  11. ^ a b c Cassidy, William (May 6, 2002). "Gun Fight". GameSpy. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Western Gun at the Killer List of Videogames
  13. ^ a b Rusel DeMaria & Johnny L. Wilson (2003), High score! The illustrated history of electronic games (2 ed.), McGraw-Hill Professional, pp. 24–5, ISBN 0-07-223172-6, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  14. ^ a b Chris Kohler (2005), Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 211, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1 
  15. ^ Chris Kohler (2005), Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 16, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1 
  16. ^ Chris Kohler (2005), Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 19, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1, "As a game, I thought our version of Western Gun was more fun. But just from using a microprocessor, the walking animation became much smoother and prettier in Midway's version." 
  17. ^ Chris Kohler (2005), "Chapter 2: An Early History of Cinematic Elements in Video Games", Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 19, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1, retrieved 2011-03-27 
  18. ^ Gunman at the Killer List of Videogames
  19. ^ Gunfight (Bally Professional Arcade) at AllGame
  20. ^ Rusel DeMaria & Johnny L. Wilson (2003), High score! The illustrated history of electronic games (2 ed.), McGraw-Hill Professional, p. 48, ISBN 0-07-223172-6, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  21. ^ Brett Weiss (2007), Classic home video games, 1972-1984: a complete reference guide, McFarland, p. 87, ISBN 0-7864-3226-8, retrieved 2011-04-02 
  22. ^ "Outlaw / Howitzer - Personal Computer Museum". Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  23. ^ "Gunslinger". Atari Age. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  24. ^ "Atarimania - Gunfight". Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  25. ^ Gunfight (Commodore 64/128) at AllGame
  26. ^ Gun Fight on YouTube
  27. ^ Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) - Computer Games on YouTube
  28. ^ Mall Arcade (Dawn Of The Dead) on YouTube

External links[edit]