#4 Boot Hill

Posted: 3rd September 2013 by Jeroen in Games
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267th played so far


Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1977
Developer: Midway
Publisher: Midway

And now for a trip back in time. One of the oldest game in the books, we now move slightly past Pong and Breakout to the first shoot ’em up on the list. Considering the size of the genre and how often we tend to get behind on it, that’s a big thing. Especially since this is the most represented genre of games before the birth of the NES.

This isn’t entirely the first game to do so – it’s apparently a sequel, although looking at the description, the differences don’t seem to be that major. Still, back to another golden oldie!

Our Thoughts

Yes, the game is simple, that’s for sure. It’s not as simple as the LCD style games with barely any animations that we might be used to, but beyond that the game stays simple. The world is mostly a static backdrop, part of the cabinet, with only the animated/changing elements projected on it. You can walk around and hide behind cacti (as long as they’re not shot down yet, Space Invaders base style) and get a limited number of shots to kill your opponent before he kills you. It’s fairly simple and not overly complex, but fun nonetheless.

One little detail that I enjoyed about the gameplay is what happens after you die. As you can see in the blue sections of the screenshot above there is a sizable graveyard. Upon your death you become a gravestone and drift up to the hill. It’s a very small touch but this small flourish adds a bit to the experience.

The difficulty isn’t too high, but it’s a bearable, fun challenge nevertheless. It was actually surprising how much there still was to it, considering the age and how early in the book it’s listed. The overlay was a neat enough idea that added some amount of context that we’d otherwise have to wait years to see.

With that said, it’s a simple shooter. Arguably as complex as Space Invaders – less overwhelming, but probably more interesting to play due to its focus on a simple round. It just can’t hold my interest as much anymore.

Final Thoughts

This game exceeded expectations. I’m not saying they were miles high when we started, but the game was absolutely better than we anticipated. It’s no longer a game you’d get out, but it feels like a game that would have been impressive at the time. I’d argue it may even beat something like Space Invaders in complexity and interestingness, which is at least somewhat telling, Just a shame it didn’t become as well known.