Gun.Smoke: The Most Deadliest Video Game in History


Capcom, 1988

Nintendo Entertainment System

Call of Duty? Nah. Grand Theft Auto? Nope. Resident Evil? Not even close. The world’s most deadly game is this arcade shooter. I have never come close to a higher body count than by playing this game.

Gun.Smoke (and yes, it is styled that way, probably to avoid legal action from the owners of the old television show) is a top-down scrolling shooter. Ever played 1942? It’s almost exactly the same, only instead of planes shooting other planes, it’s a cowboy shooting culturally insensitive caricatures of Native Americans and Mexicans, other cowboys, and ninjas. Why ninjas? Because clearly ninjas were a big problem in the 19th century Old West. It’s a conspiracy by Big Ninja preventing their tales being told in the history books.

I’m getting off topic.

Gun.Smoke! I rented this game many times as a kid, clearly unaware of the level of cultural insensitivity and implied gore and death this game provided. But hey, it was the eighties, man. Nobody cared about that stuff.

While most games in the early arcade days had their share of killing and shooting, you weren’t killing people in any of them. It was monsters, aliens, or robots — never people. Gun.Smoke certainly wasn’t the first game that featured slaughter of human lives, but it is by far the game were the death is so…abundant.

The game itself has a basic plot — scary bad cowboy invades a Western town (named Hicksville), kills the sherriff, and holds ole’ Hicksville hostage. You, the hero cowboy, rides into town to save the day. Along the way, you need to kill several bosses, and several hundred random bad guys. I’m not kidding, it’s several hundred.

To murder these baddies, you are armed with twin pistols, with unlimited ammo. If you collect enough money (and you collect that money by stealing it off of dead corpses), you can upgrade to high-powered machine guns (appropriate for the 1800s!), or buy smart bombs (you apparently are a 20th century time traveler?).

And on top of all that, you can find a horse to ride. The horse will buy you a couple hits, meaning you can be shot twice before you lose your horse. And of course, by “lose” I mean your horse is killed.

If you think I’m exagerating this horrifying body count, keep in mind that on my latest play through, I murdered 989 people, and 5 horses died because of me. And that was all that I counted (you can get swarmed quickly), and I only got to the third stage.

Gun.Smoke! Fun for the Whole Family!!!

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