This quest was initiated by a message from US reader Joe, who was looking for a toy he had found under the Christmas tree many moons ago, but which he had since lost and forgotten the name of.
|Shoot Em Ups arrives one Christmas morning in the 70s|
Joe just contacted me with the news that he had been able to track one down! It is called Shoot Em Ups.
Shoot Em Ups was produced in Hong Kong by Vanity Fair for Kmart in the US.
It is a straight copy from Nintendo's Custom Gunman. They are almost identical, except for the color of the cowboy and the base it stands on. The base of Shoot Em Ups is slightly shorter than the original.
|Shoot Em Up's black cowboy|
Although very similar to the Nintendo version, there is no indication that Shoot Em Ups was officially licensed. Which is surprising, as this would have violated the US patent "Rope Controlled Photo Target" filed by Nintendo in March 1977.
|US patent 4,090,714 assigned to Nintendo|
The version pictured on the Shoot Em Ups box was the one Joe got in the 70s (as can be seen in the picture at the top of this post). But the content of the box held one more surprise: it contained a different version of the cowboy than the one pictured on the front.
|Vanity Fair Shoot em Ups (left) and Nintendo Custom Gunman (right)|
So, at least two versions of Shoot Em Ups exist, sold in the same box.
This also means that, together with the two Sharp Shooter versions and Glaring Gorilla seen in the previous post, there are at least five alternative versions of Custom Gunman.
Part of the mystery unraveled, but any additional information is still welcome.
[Shoot Em Ups images courtesy of Joe. Thanks!]