1977 Greats #02 – BOOT HILL

Boot Hill
Year:  1977
Platform:  ARCADE Game
Developer:   Midway
Genre:   Action – versus

11-BootHill1Improving on its earlier incarnation (Gun Fight – 1975), Boot Hill adds a host of improvements and a terrific presentation which really help set this classic ahead of its contemporaries.  Boot Hill sported some fine gunslingin’ action where you get to kill your friends (in good fun of course) and drag their sorry boots up the hill to add to the tombstone fields.

Boot Hill featured some colorful bezel artwork, which added to the atmosphere and realism of the game.  When this game was produced, it was technologically impossible to render the scene digitally, so by reflecting a monitor onto background artwork you get the illusion of a play field set in the Wild Wild West.  The additional improvements featured scaling sprites, which added depth… as objects moved “up” on the screen, they shrank in size simulating them moving away towards the horizon.11-BootHill2

Another major improvement is the added computer A.I. so you could now go head-to-head without having any friends at all (lucky you).  The computer opponent might not have been the most advanced brain ever, but he does put up a decent fight which is better than playing with yourself (uh, I’ll leave that one alone.)  You each have 6 shots in your gun, with no reload until both of you are out of ammo.  Too bad you can’t just march right over to the other side and blast ’em at point-blank when you’ve got a bullet left and they don’t.  Nope, this is a gentleman’s game — stay on your side and play fair.

I noticed on www.arcade-history.com they mention this was in the movie Dawn of the Dead (1977) – “The version of Boot Hill played in the movie seems to be without the backdrop.”  This is incorrect.  The video game showed in the movie is almost assuredly Gun Fight from 1975, not the updated Boot Hill.  Partly the perspective differences aren’t yet implemented, indicating the earlier game — but also if they were just filming the screen, then it would also have had the background artwork overlay.  Plus the movie would most likely have done all principal photography before Boot Hill was even released in 1977.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *