Showdown at the arcade

Showdown at the arcade

Shots Fired! Midway’s Gun Fight

Cabinet for Gun Fight, an arcade video game by Midway 1975

Gun Fight cabinet

Midway Mfg. Corp had ridden the coattails of Atari with their arcade video games Winner and Winner IV, both PONG clones released in 1973. They stopped following and helped push the technical envelope, however, with their groundbreaking Gun Fight, released in 1975. The arcade game placed two western hombres, one controlled by the player with two pistol-grip joysticks, in a showdown amongst rolling conestoga wagons and numerous cactii. It was based on the Taito arcade game Western Gun, but Midway game development contractors Nutting Associates decided to add a CPU in their redesign for the game’s release in North America, making it the first use of such technology in an arcade game. This allowed for more complicated on-screen sprites than the simple square paddles and ball of previous PONG games, as well as more unpredictable movement from the computer-controlled cowboy. The company followed up Gun Fight with Boot Hill in 1977, placing the video sprites on top of a  western tableau diorama built into the cabinet. Gun Fight designers Dave Nutting and Tom McHugh, of Nutting Associates, went on to make Sea Wolf and Wizard of Wor for Midway.

For more information on Nutting Associates and Gun Fight, consult your local Dot Eaters entry.