Friday, September 14, 2012

Nintendo Wild Gunman Game (荒野のガンマン ゲーム, 1972)

The Wild West was a popular topic in the 1970s, and the subject of many movies and television series. Not surprising, Nintendo used it for a number of their games and toys at the time.

Some examples are Nintendo's Kousenjuu light gun games (1971) and Sheriff arcade game (1979).

Another of these Western games is the one shown here: Wild Gunman (荒野のガンマン ゲーム).

The 'wild' in the name refers to the setting, which is the American Nevada desert.

Wild Gunman was released in 1972 and cost ¥1,400.

It is a two-player table-top game. Each player controls one of the two gunman (blue and orange). The gunmen can be moved from left to right with the little control handle sticking out from the playing field. This handle is also used to fire.

The object of Wild Gunman is to knock the other player's gunman over, by hitting him with little balls that you fire at each other.

The game is quite big, measuring around 45 by 24 centimeters. It is 8 centimetres high.

The round 'N' logo on the box is very unusual. Nintendo only used it on this game. In the early 70s, Nintendo was still busy settling on a consistent brand logo.

Nintendo Wild Gunman (1972)

The game's body is made from plastic and the red play area is plasticized cardboard. This play area slopes a little bit to the sides, so balls always roll off it.

Included with the game are two plastic cactuses and a bag with 20 'bullets' (little metal ball bearings).

The cactuses are planted on the playing field and function as hides for the gunmen.

At the start of the game, the balls are divided between the two players, and placed in the two gutters on either side of the playing field.

The balls roll to the right side of the gutter, where they drop, one by one, through a small hole.

When you move the gunman to this side, a clever mechanism loads a single ball in the spring-driven shooting device that sits underneath the gunman.

The 'gun' sits underneath the playing field

As you can see when we flip the playing field over, this shooter is attached to a tube, which move with the gunman as you control it side to side.

When you pull and release the lever on the control handle, the ball shoots through the tube...

...and fires out of the end, which is hidden underneath the star in the middle of the playing field. Because the tubes are placed underneath the playing field, it is difficult for the opposite player to predict where you are aiming.

And surprising them with your shot is precisely the point, as the object of the game is to hit the other player. When this happens, the gunman flips on its back, and you have scored a point.

A fallen gunman can be erected again easily by moving him to the left, where a little protrusion flips it back up. After which the shoot-out can continue.

Ouch, you got me there

A game of Wild Gunman can continue endlessly, as players never run out of balls; with every shot they make, they provide the adversary with new munition!


  1. So basically, it's Crossfire.

    I'm curious where you're getting that the setting was supposed to be Nevada... is it in the instructions or something? I'm from Lyon County myself. Southern Nevada (the only part of the state where'd you'd see cacti and stuff like that) wasn't really established until long after the west was won, but I don't expect a Japanese company to know that when even most Americans think the whole state is like Las Vegas. XD

    1. Thanks for pointing out the game Crossfire. Although it is simliar (and older), Nintendo did put it's own spin on the concept. They are different enough to not see it as a copy, in my opinion.

      The reference to Nevada I made based on the images, this is not mentioned in the instructions.