Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nintendo Custom Gunman - alternative versions - Shoot Em Ups

Around three weeks ago, I posted a message asking for information regarding alternatives versions of Nintendo Custom Gunman.

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!]


  1. Anonymous said...
    I got shoot em ups for my 8th birthday in 1978. I still own it today.
    Does anybody know what it is worth?

    thanks, Greg

  2. Woah, wearing black and having that white spot on his chest that looks like a badge, this toy looks to me more like: "shoot the cop"!

    1. Police officers have their badge on the left handside, the badge goes over their heart. Shoot em ups is on the right hand side.

    2. When do cops where black?

  3. I noticed this variant of the Gunman in Pawn Stars S03E20 where some guy was selling his cowboy toy collection. Would have never known it was based on a Nintendo thingy if I hadn't been reading this blog :D

  4. Where can I get one was adopted in 1977 was my first been searching plse help u can email me at

  5. OMG! Some oddball memory got triggered from watching the 2021 olympic gymnastics tonight! Bars. wires, I have no idea!...but I had this low budget version. Played it every day in the late 70's! It fell apart and I kept re-connecting the cables to keep it going! Thanks for re-viving the memories!

  6. I also had a Shoot Em Ups cowboy! One of my favorite toys. I would love to find one in working condition