Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Outlaw wasn’t the first video game to explore the Old West tradition of the shootout (Midway/Taito’s Gun Fight had done the same thing a year earlier), but the Atari game was the first to put you, the player, in the middle of the action.
On the simple black and white screen (all gussied up with a plastic Western town overlay), a lone desperado ran out from behind a building, turned, drew and fired… directly at you. If you wanted to survive this little soiree with death, you had to be pretty quick on the draw. The cabinet actually had a light gun (a mock Colt .45) held in a front holster, ready to be drawn and fired once the outlaw stopped running.
And no cheating, either. Oulaw made sure of that by flashing a warning if the gun was drawn too soon or wasn’t returned to its holster between duels. This was a question of honor, and a fair game was the only was to pass the “Dude” and “Greenhorn” ratings to earn the coveted “Top Gun” title. For an even higher score, gunfighters could ignore the “Half-fast Pete” outlaw option to face off against the faster “Billy-the-Kid” opponent.
Outlaw was converted to the Atari VCS (the 2600), but the cartridge game looked and played more like Gun Fight than the Atari arcade game. Home players had to wait several more years for a true first-person light gun shooter, but as long as the arcade Outlaw was still around, gamers could still get a taste of good old frontier justice.