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Shootout (Odyssey, 1972)

Shootout (Odyssey, 1972) overlay: Dusty little town. Quiet little life. Suddenly: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!Shootout (Odyssey, 1972) overlay: Dusty little town. Quiet little life. Suddenly: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Shootout! (Exclamation point foreshadowing trend of very excited games on consoles with "Odyssey" as part of the name.) involves moving your Outlaw Gang (little white square) from window to window without getting shot by the gun-wielding Sheriff. Your Outlaws start at the upper left and move to the upper right, obliged to light each window along the way. As though a single organism, they then cross the street to the "low side" of the screen using the stagecoach as cover, then they make their way to the lower left corner where "escape" horses await.

This all takes place while your friend, parent, spouse, offspring or other loved one tries to shoot your Outlaws, and, symbolically, you! As you sneak from window to window, you can't just zip through the window at a blinding speed. Your Outlaw Gang has to stop in each window long enough for you to yell: "You'll never get me, Sheriff!" When we play, this phrase invariably corrupts into being pronounced "yoollne'ergitmesherff!" as we, understandably, attempt to say it as quickly as possible.

When an Outlaw gets shot, the light goes out and the Sheriff wins a point. This represents the on-the-spot capital punishment of one member of the gang. The Sheriff "reloads" the light gun (i.e. "resets" the little white square) and play continues. When the surviving outlaws get away on their escape horses, the Sheriff is done. Players take turns and keep score for western criminal hi-jinks from days of yore!

I didn't actually intend that last sentence to rhyme, but now that I see it does rhyme, I have to leave it as is.

This is one of the first - if not the very first - example of raw human on human violence depicted in a home videogame! You're not shooting at a plane. You're not shooting at a submarine. You're holding a realistic gun with pump action and firing at a tiny little square that represents another human - no, an entire GANG of humans! Either that or you're the humans trying to avoid being shot. Whoo-wee! Shootout! begins a long and robust tradition involving the joys of pretending to hurt other people without having to run around outside, point your finger and yell "bang! bang!" - not to mention, the tradition of the abuse of exclamation points in videogame titles!!! If you think it's bad for you, then don't do it, don't let your kids do it. Also, keep an eye on what your kids are playing and just how they're punctuating things.

I'm going to give this game a full point, not just because it is fun, but because you get to pretend to try to kill another person - it's practically historical!

It should be noted that the squeamish can pretend to be such a good shot that they "just winged 'em."

Ultraman: 4, Odyssey: 8!!!

Video games are winning! Whooo!

Confused? Go HERE


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