|Nintendo Sheriff (1979)|
The Wild West is a longtime arcade favorite, starting with Taito's famous 1975 Gun Fight (called Western Gun in Japan) - the first video game to feature cowboys.
But in 1978 aliens replaced cowboys as the popular shooting target, when Taito's Tomohiro Nishikado (who was also responsible for Gun Fight) conceived Space Invaders.
As said, Sherrif's gameplay has quite some similarities to Space Invaders.
A circle of attacking cowboys replaced a fleet of space monsters. But the dodging and firing of bullets (missiles), the slowly crumbling bunkers blocking shots, the speeding-up of the movements of the enemies as their number reduces, are all taken from the Space Invaders book. At the top of the Sheriff screen, a passing bird has taken the place of the flying saucer as bonus target. Even a variation on the iconic ''dud-dud-dud-dud" sound effect is present.
Still, these elements are given a new visual twist, turning the experience into something new.
The background story of Sheriff is the familiar theme of damsel-in-distress-in-need-of-rescue-from-villain, found in many Nintendo arcade games (like Donkey Kong, to name one).
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The controls are an original setup: an eight-way joystick is used to move the player's cowboy, and a second control is used to aim and fire the bullets, by turning and pushing the eight-way dial. Operating those two controllers simultaneously required quite some practice. This was no easy game.
Sheriff contains some elements that would return in later Nintendo arcade games. These hearts would resurface in Popeye from 1982.
Sheriff was created by Shigeru Miyamoto, in one of his first arcade game assignments, together with Genyo Takeda.
|Nintendo Sheriff leaflet (front and back)|
In recent years, a tribute to Sheriff appeared in the Gameboy Advance game WarioWare.