Boot Hill (1977)

by Nish
5 minutes read


Boot Hill (1977): A Western Showdown for the Ages


In the golden age of arcade gaming, when pixels were few and simplicity reigned supreme, there was Boot Hill. Released by Midway in 1977 as a sequel to the groundbreaking Western Gun, Boot Hill quickly established itself as a classic one-on-one shooter that captured the essence of the Wild West. With its intuitive controls, intense duels, and charming pixel art, Boot Hill has stood the test of time as a beloved arcade gem.


Boot Hill’s gameplay is as straightforward as it gets. Two players, each controlling a cowboy, face off in a gunfight in a Western town. The objective is simple: shoot your opponent before they shoot you.

Each player uses a small joystick to move their cowboy up and down the play area, while a second, much larger joystick is used to aim and shoot the pistol. The larger joystick also has a trigger button for firing.

The play area is littered with wagons and cacti, which provide temporary cover from the opponent’s gunfire. These obstacles slowly disintegrate as they are shot, adding an element of strategy to the game.


Boot Hill’s controls are incredibly simple and intuitive. The small joystick moves the cowboy left and right, while the large joystick aims the pistol and fires. The trigger button on the large joystick is used to shoot.

This simple control scheme makes Boot Hill easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master. The key to success lies in mastering the art of aiming and timing your shots.

Graphics and Sound

For a game released in 1977, Boot Hill’s graphics are surprisingly charming. The cowboys are depicted as simple sprites, but they are full of character. The Western town setting is also well-realized, with detailed buildings, wagons, and cacti.

The sound effects in Boot Hill are minimal, but effective. The gunshots are loud and satisfying, and the music is a catchy Western tune that adds to the game’s atmosphere.


Boot Hill was a critical and commercial success upon its release in 1977. It quickly became one of the most popular arcade games of its time, and it has remained popular with retro gaming enthusiasts to this day.

Boot Hill’s legacy can be seen in the many Western-themed shooters that followed in its footsteps. Games such as Gun.Smoke (1985), Sunset Riders (1991), and Call of Juarez (2006) all owe a debt to Boot Hill’s simple but addictive gameplay.


Boot Hill is a timeless arcade classic that still delivers a thrilling gunfight experience. Its simple controls, intense duels, and charming pixel art make it a game that is easy to pick up and play, but difficult to master. Whether you’re a seasoned retro gaming enthusiast or a newcomer to the genre, Boot Hill is a must-play for anyone who enjoys a good old-fashioned Western showdown.

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