Taking a Playchoice conversion to a Wild Gunman from Back to the Future II. With my latest acquisitions, I'm not in over my head yet, but I'm close. What is better than 1 Donkey Kong machine?  2 Donkey Kong machines!



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November 5, 2012

If you’ve seen Back to the Future II, you might be familair with the Cafe 80’s scene where Marty plays a game called Wild Gunman.  I’ve been toying with the idea of building a Wild Gunman for awhile.  I researched it a little a few years ago, found out Nintendo never released Wild Gunman as a standalone game, and that’s about as far as I made it.  Fast forward a few years, and I see a post on KLOV about someone building one.  So, that got me interested again.

From reading the thread and more research, I found out:

Wild Gunman was released only for the Playchoice.
There was no Wild Gunman artwork.
The cabinet in the movie is not a standard Playchoice cabinet, but a Donkey Kong style cabinet (the speaker holes and coin door are a dead giveaway).
The side art is Playchoice side art.
The control panel is a Vs control panel instead of a Playchoice style panel.
The gun holster is not in the typical location for a Vs game or a Playchoice.

Taking all that into consideration, I already had the majority of parts I needed for the project.  I previously picked up a Playchoice conversion in a Donkey Kong style cabinet in a trade a couple years ago, so it would be perfect for the job.  I only needed the Wild Gunman cartridge, a gun, holster, new side art and control panel.

I started by stripping the game of all the parts and the side art.  Whoever had the game before me decided to install new art.  However, they didn’t remove the old side art or the bolts for the monitor.  So it was a very bad installation to say the least.  I made short work of it using a heat gun and scraper.

Next, I sanded the semi-gloss shine off the cabinet and patched all the dings.  I do this with all my Nintendo cabinets.  I don’t take it all the way down to the wood, but sanding the shine off allows the new paint to take.  For ease of painting, I removed the front portion of the cabinet.



Following the sanding, patching and resanding, it was time for the primer.  I applied 3 coats to each of the pieces of the cabinet.  1 or 2 coats would probably suffice, but I wanted to make sure I got it all so I added a 3rd.


Once the primer was dry, I applied 3 coats of black semigloss paint.  I cheat and use a foam roller, but it comes out really nice.


After painting, I applied the side art I found on ebay using a squeegee to work out the bubbles as I went along.  I then installed the monitor and all the internals.

And by the way, if you need side art, check out digdug on ebay.  They do excellent work for the price.


I mentioned earlier that Wild Gunman didn’t have its own artwork.  However, the person I found on KLOV had created their own marquee.  I contacted him about it and he was nice enough to send me the file.  So, thanks justbriand.  And if you have twitter, check out @justbriand.

From the file justbriand sent me, I had a vinyl marquee printed.  Since it was  basically just a big sticker, I needed something to attach it to.  So, using a scoring tool and a piece of acrylic from Lowes, I made my own backing using a Popeye marquee as my template.

I applied the printed marquee to the acrylic using the same squeegee method as the side art and installed it in the game.

And with that, the game was (mostly) complete.  I still need to find a holster and install the gun.  I also need to figure out an issue with my sound (there is none).  However, the machine has 9 other gun games so it is still playable.

Also, earlier, I mentioned the control panels are different.  The Playchoice control panel has 5 buttons along the top to cycle through the game list, select a game, act as an in game select and start, and a reset button.  The VS control panel only has 2 buttons for player 1 and 2 (well, along with a B and A for each of the 2 players).  I ended up wiring the game toggle and select buttons to 1 and 2 on the Vs control panel.  I then added the in game select button to button B on the 2 player side and the start button to the 1 (same as the game toggle).  The in game select button is hit and miss, but it works good enough.  I avoided the reset button because holding buttons 1 and 2 for 2 seconds will return you to the game select screen.

I leave you with the final product and the before shot.  The overall process wasn’t too bad.  It just took a little more time than I was expecting.

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  1. Looks pretty badass. Can’t wait to play it once the gun and holster have been acquired.

    Comment by Andrew — November 16, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  2. I have the gun, just no holster. I still need to drill a hole for the wires though. I’ll probably get to that this weekend.

    Comment by Alan — November 16, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  3. Looking good sir!

    Comment by JustBrianD — December 21, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  4. […] Project: Wild Gunman […]

    Pingback by Red Tent and Others Update | Dramastic Blog — April 16, 2013 @ 5:36 pm

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