16
Mar
14

Shooting Gallery for DOS

Shooting gallery is another game made by Nels Anderson in the early 1990’s. This is another of the many shareware games that was installed on the machines in our computer lab at high school. It has a number of mini-games based on many of the games you used to find at fair grounds and amusement parks.

It runs in the usual 256 colour VGA mode, although it would also work on MCGA. The game was written with Turbo Pascal 5.5, a common language at the time. It also uses the Borland Graphics Interface (BGI) much like I have for my platform game. In fact it has the same VGA256.BGI file that I’ve used for normal VGA graphics. This didn’t come with that version of Pascal (or 6.0 for that matter) so the author would have downloaded it from a BBS or Borland.

The quality of the graphics is quite good, sprites are colourful and animate nicely. We used to only have PC speaker at school for sound, so we only ever heard bleeps and bloops from that, but sound blaster support is also available, and has some ok digitised sound. There is some music on the title screen, but it sounds like it’s coming from the PC speaker even when the sound blaster is enabled. It’s not bad by any stretch, but would have been improved substantially using OPL FM synthesis.

Birds and Bottles

Birds and Bottles

The first mini-game is Birds and bottles, it is a simple shooting game much the same as the fair ground game where people shoot ducks in a row. There is a good variety of targets each with different point values based on how hard they are to hit, the candles in particular being very hard to hit. You shoot until you either run out of ammo or time. You can get extra ammo by shooting boxes containing it. This is good as you can go through a lot of ammo fast.

Are pigeons called Skeet?

Are pigeons called Skeet?

The second game is a computerised version of skeet shooting. It’s fairly simple, you simply have to shoot the clay pigeons as they fly. Ammunition isn’t an issue as you can only shoot once per clay pigeon and enough ammo is provided. It can be quite difficult to hit the targets here as they have don’t move the same way each time and they are fast!

Quick Draw

Quick Draw

The third game is quick draw. Basically there is a target in the middle of the screen, and you are scored based on how quickly you can hit the target from a predefined starting place for the mouse. It’s one of the simpler games as there are no moving targets.

These 3 games are repeated a second time with a few variations to make them harder. For instance the skeet shooting has two pigeons and the quick draw has two targets. They are slightly harder, but are not really all that different to the originals.

Do you feel lucky?

Do you feel lucky?

The final mini-game is probably the most memorable and is called shoot out. You’re in a wild west setting with a few buildings from which people pop out. Your job is to shoot only the bad guys before they shoot you! Like the first game you have an ammunition and time limit so you can’t waste your shots or take a long time. You lose 2 seconds from your remaining time each time a bad guy shoots at you and you lose points for shooting citizens or children.

After all 7 rounds you’re given a score and a high score if you managed to get one. Your score is an indication of how well you can use your mouse. The game could be used as a trainer for precision mouse usage. Most people are fairly proficient with a mouse these days, but this game would certainly challenge your clicking skills.

Double quick draw

Double quick draw

It only takes about 10 minutes to get through all the mini-games so it’s good for a small distraction as a break. If you don’t like some rounds you can opt to skip them or simply just practise the one you like the most. We used to play this game in the computer studies classes partly because of its simple and quick gameplay, you didn’t need much time to get through an entire game and had a score to compete with friends. It could fill a similar hole in your day today, but it’s not something I’d sit down and play given enough time for a more full game. Like EGA Trek before it, Shooting Gallery is still available from Nels Anderson’s website.

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