Tomohiro Nishikado (original) |
Dave Nutting (US version)
|Programmer(s)||Tom McHugh (US version)|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Astrocade, Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64|
Taito Discrete Logic (original) |
Midway 8080 (US version)
Discrete logic (Taito) |
8080 @ 1.9968 MHz (Midway)
Fujitsu MB14241, |
256×224 resolution, monochrome
Gun Fight, known as Western Gun in Japan and Europe, is a 1975 arcade shooter game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released by Taito in Japan and Europe and by Midway in North America. It was the first video game to depict human-to-human combat, while the Midway version was also the first video game to use a microprocessor. Following its November 1975 release in North America, it went on to sell over 8,000 arcade cabinets in the United States. It was ported to the Bally Astrocade video game console as a built-in game in 1977 as well as several home computer platforms.
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). The game was included in GameSpy's "Hall of Fame" in 2002.
Western Gun was a fixed screen shooter where two players could compete in an old west gun fight. It was the first video game to depict human-to-human combat. When shot, the characters in the game fell to the ground and the words "GOT ME!" appeared above the body. 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. 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, and (in later levels) stagecoaches. The guns have limited ammunition, with each player given six bullets; a round ends if both players run out of ammo. Gunshots can also ricochet off the top or bottom edges of the playfield, allowing for indirect hits to be used as a possible strategy.
Development and technology
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. The game use bitmapped framebuffer technology to display animated human-like characters, using Fujitsu's MB14241 video shifter chip, which was also later used by Sea Wolf and Space Invaders. Tiles are also used to display text.
Taito licensed its game Western Gun to Midway for release in North America, one of the first such licenses, after the 1974 scrolling racing game Speed Race, also designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and the 1974 sports game Basketball. 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.
Tomohiro Nishikado's original Western Gun design was based on discrete logic, like most video arcade games of the time. 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, since his company Dave Nutting Associates had already licensed the technology for the first arcade pinball machine to include a microprocessor, The 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. This led him to design microprocessors into his subsequent games, including the blockbuster 1978 shoot 'em up hit Space Invaders. Gun Fight uses a black-and-white raster monitor and a yellow screen overlay.
In 1983, Epyx ported Gun Fight and another Midway game, Sea Wolf II, to the Atari 8-bit family, and released them in an Arcade Classics compilation. In 1987, Interceptor Software ported Gun Fight to the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 computers.
- Boot Hill (1977)
- Stephen Totilo (August 31, 2010). "In Search Of The First Video Game Gun". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Western Gun". The Arcade Flyer Archive. Killer List of Video Games. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- 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
- Cassidy, William (May 6, 2002). "Gun Fight". GameSpy. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- 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
- Shirley R. Steinberg (2010), Shirley R. Steinberg; Michael Kehler; Lindsay Cornish, eds., Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia, 1, ABC-CLIO, p. 451, ISBN 0-313-35080-9, retrieved 2011-04-02
- Mini-micro systems, Volume 11. Cahners Publishing. 1978. p. 46. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- "Gunfight (Astrocade)". GameFAQs. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
- Gun Fight at AllGame
- "Atarimania - Arcade Classics: Sea Wolf II / Gun Fight". Retrieved 2011-02-01.
- Cassidy, William (May 6, 2002). "Gun Fight". GameSpy. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "The Arcade Flyer Archive: Western Gun". Retrieved 2015-06-18.
- Western Gun at the Killer List of Videogames
- 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
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-03. Retrieved 2014-09-28.
- Chris Kohler (2005), Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 211, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1
- Chris Kohler (2005), Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life, BradyGames, p. 16, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1
- 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.
- 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
- Gunfight (Bally Professional Arcade) at AllGame
- 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
- Gunfight (Commodore 64/128) at AllGame
- "Atarimania - Gunfight". Retrieved 2012-03-08.
- "The Duel".