Wild Guns: An Appreciation

Most video games are indistinct, in the sense that the best way to describe a given video game is in relation to other video games. This game is like Super Mario World, but. This game is like The Legend of Zelda, but. This game is like Castlevania, but. As such, genre classification in video games often has more accompanying baggage than it does in other media. For example, if I describe a movie as a western, that gives you some information, sure, but that information alone doesn’t convey the essence of the story or the tone in which that story is presented. By contrast, if I describe a video game as a platformer, I may not be providing information about the game’s aesthetic trappings, but I am almost certainly providing information about the gameplay itself. You run to the right, you jump over and on top of things, and you probably collect coins and other items along the way.

It would be wrong to say that Wild Guns, released for Super Nintendo in 1994, is entirely distinct in this sense. It’s a gallery shooter, broadly similar to T2: The Arcade Game, Lethal Enforcers, Area 51, etc. However, unlike most gallery shooters, in which you only have control over where you’re aiming your gun, in Wild Guns your character icon is visible on-screen and can be moved around laterally. You can even jump and tuck and roll to avoid enemy fire. You can collect weapon power-ups, use melee attacks on enemies at close range, and throw explosives back at enemies who threw them at you. The total experience is closer to the third-person shooters of the 00’s than the gallery shooters of the 90’s.

Oh! I forgot to mention – it’s a game set in the old west where most of the enemies are giant robots.

I am a simple man. I like video games where you shoot guns and blow things up. The most satisfying things to blow up in video games, invariably, are giant robots. To know that there is a video game where I can be shooting at giant robots while also trying to pick off smaller human and robot enemies, all while dodging bullets constantly, warms my very soul. Even better, the game is two-player co-op. You can play by yourself, but it’s just not the same. Should you choose to tackle Wild Guns, it is highly recommended you grab a buddy to play with.

In conclusion, Wild Guns rules and you should play it.

All thanks due to SNES Drunk for introducing me to this game.

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