As highlighted by @katewillaert on Twitter, Ben Solovey (thefairshot on instagram) has managed to uncover two reels of 16mm film that were originally part of Nintendo’s Wild Gunman arcade cabinet from 1974.
While Nintendo console gamers will probably be more familiar with the NES port of this light gun shooter (or the version that Marty McFly plays in Back to the Future Part II), the original arcade game was created by Gunpei Yokoi and used a 16mm projector to display the various gunslingers you were drawing against. Interestingly, the arcade game came to the US in a joint venture between Nintendo and Sega — you can read all about this unlikely collaboration in a Wild Gunman piece we wrote a few years ago.
Obviously, film stock is fragile stuff and any surviving prints from the original coin-op are approaching 50-years-old now. However, Solovey is in possession of two of the eight reels, as shown below:
Each of the four selectable scenarios — labelled A-D — comprised two reels, and Solovey apparently has everything from ‘Film-D’:
If you’re wondering how a light gun can interact with film stock, your opponents’ eyes flash (as you can see above) just before they draw. If you’re fast enough to pull the trigger, you’ll see them fall to the ground — otherwise, they’ll stay standing and you’ll be brown bread.
There’s no word just yet on the exact plans for the film, but Solovey (a cinematographer) is a specialist in this area, so we’ll be keeping an eye on plans for this fascinating piece of Nintendo arcade history.