Sheriff (video game)

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Arcade flyer of Sheriff.
Arcade flyer
Publisher(s)Nintendo (Japan, Europe)
Exidy (North America)
Designer(s)Genyo Takeda[2]
Artist(s)Shigeru Miyamoto
Genre(s)Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, Two-player[6]
Arcade systemNintendo 8080[7]

Sheriff,[a] also known as Bandido, is a 1979 arcade game by Nintendo. It is one of a group of Western-themed video games from the 1970s, preceded by at least Western Gun, Outlaw, and Boot Hill. The player controls a county sheriff tasked with defense of a town against bandits, to rescue the captured woman.



The game's concept is Nintendo's first damsel in distress theme, predating Donkey Kong (1981). The player controls a sheriff character against a gang of attacking bandits, to defend the town and rescue the captured woman.[8][9]

Sheriff distinctly features two separate controls: a joystick for movement, and a dial control for aiming and firing, a configuration unusual for arcade games and nonexistent in consoles at the time. The joystick moves the character and the dial aims and fires, each in eight separate directions, allowing the sheriff to walk in one direction while shooting in another.[9] The movement joystick is set with a considerable time delay before moving.

16 bandits surround the outer rim, marked by a dotted "fence". Bullets from either the sheriff or the bandits can destroy the fenceposts, and they can function as defensive walls or aiming obstacles for the player. Larger barriers also exist on the midpoint of each side of the screen, and bullets from either the sheriff or the bandits will slowly erode these. The top and bottom barriers display the current level number.

The basic action taken by the enemy bandits is to walk around the outer rim while firing bullets at the sheriff, but they will sometimes enter into the central area, along with a change in game music. The sheriff must avoid touching the bandits, dodge bullets, and shoot all 16 bandits to complete each level.


The game was developed by Nintendo R&D1 in 1979, designed by Genyo Takeda with art by Shigeru Miyamoto.[2] Some sources[10][11][12] assert that Ikegami Tsushinki also did design work on Sheriff.


The game was originally released in two formats: an upright cabinet and a cocktail (tabletop) version. These versions were imported to Europe and Asia. In the UK, Sheriff was licensed for production and distribution by Bell-Fruit Manufacturing in an upright cabinet. Bell-Fruit's core product range at the time was fruit/slot machines. Sheriff (and later Puckman) marked the company's first, and short lived, diversification into the market of video games as licensee, so the cabinet design for this territory differs considerably from that of the Japanese version. Although it features the same marquee and bezel design, it shares many properties more commonly associated with slot machines, such as a lack of side art or cabinet decals. However, the game's title in this region remains unchanged as Sheriff.

Exidy distributed a version of the game called Bandido.


In 2012, 1up wrote, "Sheriff put Nintendo on the right track as a game developer."[9]



A sequel, Sheriff 2, was released in 1979. It features the addition of color graphics, minor changes in bonus scoring, characters being changed to cute animals, and a simplified control system. The 8-way dial used for shooting was replaced with a normal button, so the sheriff can only shoot in the direction he is facing. Another game pattern was added, where the bandits enter into the central area, but run straight through the top half instead of chasing the sheriff. The player can gain bonus points if he manages to shoot all of the bandits while they are running through the central area.

In later games[edit]

More than two decades after the two arcade releases, it was re-released as part of WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!, released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.[9] In WarioWare, Sheriff was included as both a microgame and as a minigame ("Wario's Sheriff") in which Wario takes the role of the sheriff. Standard controls apply to the microgame version, but in the minigame version, the L/R buttons can make the sheriff face in the opposite direction without moving. The time delay for moving the sheriff was removed, and the sheriff's walking speed is greatly increased from the original. When the player's points double after completing a certain number of levels, the sheriff also gains extra lives, reducing the game's difficulty considerably.

The Sheriff character has appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series starting with Super Smash Bros Melee, in which he appears as one of the many collectible Trophies in the game. Sheriff later returned in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U as an assist trophy where he fires a succession of eight bullets in a random order on the battlefield when summoned. He appears again as an Assist Trophy and Spirit in Super Smash Bros Ultimate.


  1. ^ Japanese: シェリフ, Hepburn: Sherifu


  1. ^ McFerran, Damien (2018-02-26). "Feature: Shining A Light On Ikegami Tsushinki, The Company That Developed Donkey Kong". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2020-06-09.
  2. ^ a b "Iwata Asks: Punch-Out!! - Investigating a Glove Interface". Nintendo. August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Sheriff arcade video game pcb by Nintendo Co., Ltd. (1979)".
  4. ^, Daniel Hower, Eric Jacobson. "The Arcade Flyer Archive - Video Game Flyers: Sheriff, Nintendo".
  5. ^ "Bandido arcade video game pcb by Exidy, Inc. (1979)".
  6. ^ Sheriff at the Killer List of Videogames
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Interview: Nintendo Arcade Collector Shoots From the Hip With Rare Sheriff Cabinet". Nintendo Life. December 29, 2014. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "Where Were They Then: The First Games of Nintendo, Konami, and More". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "Company:Ikegami Tsushinki - GDRI :: Game Developer Research Institute".
  11. ^ ドンキーコング裁判についてちょこっと考えてみる Archived 2010-03-12 at the Wayback Machine Thinking a bit about Donkey Kong, accessed February 1, 2009
  12. ^ It started from Pong (それは『ポン』から始まった : アーケードTVゲームの成り立ち, sore wa pon kara hajimatta: ākēdo terebi gēmu no naritachi), Masumi Akagi (赤木真澄, Akagi Masumi), Amusement Tsūshinsha (アミューズメント通信社, Amyūzumento Tsūshinsha), 2005, ISBN 4-9902512-0-2.

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