Wild Gunman

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Wild Gunman
Wild Gunman Coverart.png
Package of Nintendo Entertainment System version
Intelligent Systems
Producer(s)Hiroshi Imanishi, Shigeru Miyamoto
Composer(s)Hirokazu Tanaka
  • JP: February 18, 1984
  • US: October 18, 1985
  • CAN: February 3, 1986
  • EU: February 15, 1988
Genre(s)Light gun game

Wild Gunman[a] is a light gun shooter game created by Nintendo. Originally created as an electro-mechanical arcade game in 1974 by Gunpei Yokoi, it was adapted to a video game format on an arcade cabinet and light gun. It was released in 1985 as a launch game for the Nintendo Entertainment System with the Zapper light gun.

Original version[edit]

The original version of Wild Gunman is one of Nintendo's electro-mechanical arcade games created by Gunpei Yokoi and released in 1974. It consists of a light gun connected to a 16 mm projection screen. Full-motion video footage of an American Wild West gunslinger is projected onto the screen. When this enemy character's eyes flash, the player draws and fires the gun. If the player is fast enough, the projection changes to that of the shot gunman falling down; otherwise it shows the gunman drawing and firing his gun. A victorious player faces off against several more gunslinger opponents.[1] This version of Wild Gunman was released in North America by Sega in 1976.[2]

The second version has a plastic gunman figure mounted on top of a plastic battery box called Custom Gunman, which later became one of the microgames in the Game Boy Advance title, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!.

Video game versions[edit]

Screenshot showing typical gameplay of Wild Gunman for the NES

Nintendo converted the electro-mechanical concept into a video game, replacing photographic images with cartoon-style sprites.

In 1984 in Japan, the Famicom version was released for use with the Zapper gun peripheral. This was also available packaged with a plastic, western-style revolver accessory (modeled after the Colt Single Action Army) that can be used instead of the Zapper. In 1985 in the United States, it was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System.

In the NES version, the player waits for the opponent's eyes to flash (accompanied by a speech bubble reading "FIRE!!") before shooting. It features a shooting gallery where opponents are to be shot from the windows of a saloon. A piece of Frédéric Chopin's "Funeral march" indicates the player's defeat. This version was also published on the PlayChoice-10 arcade system.

In popular culture[edit]

Experimental filmmaker Craig Baldwin's 1978 short Wild Gunman features footage from the original 1974 arcade game which was re-edited, sped up, and slowed down to surreal effect.[3] The NES game notoriously appears as an arcade machine (sometimes referred to by fans as "VS. Wild Gunman") in a scene in Back to the Future Part II. October 21, 2015 was Back to the Future Day, on which Nintendo re-released the game on the Wii U Virtual Console, adapted to use the Wii remote as an emulated light gun, in honor of its appearance in the film.[4][5] The enemy cowboys from Wild Gunman also appear as drop targets in Zen Studios' digital pinball adaptation of the Back to the Future trilogy, an add-on for the 2017 game Pinball FX 3.[6] In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there is a collectible sticker for the Wild Gunman character; in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Duck Hunt character can summon any of gunmen as one of their attacks. The characters' Final Smash move causes opponents to get caught in the middle of a shootout between the gunmen and the enemy characters from Hogan's Alley.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Japanese: ワイルドガンマン Hepburn: Wairudo Ganman


  1. ^ Wild Gunman (1974) at the Killer List of Videogames
  2. ^ "SEGA Introduces Two New Games" (PDF). Cashbox. April 24, 1976. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  3. ^ "Craig Baldwin". Hi-beam.net. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Kohler, Chris (October 21, 2015). "Nintendo Re-Releases Marty McFly's Favorite Game This Week". Wired. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Fingas, Jon (September 21, 2015). "Nintendo revives 'Wild Gunman' in time for 'Back to the Future' Day". Engadget. Retrieved December 10, 2019.
  6. ^ ShoryukenToTheChin. "Back to the Future Pinball Table Guide" (PDF). Zen Studios. p. 4, 19. Retrieved February 22, 2020.

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