Sheriff flyer
Promotional flyer for the game.
Developer Nintendo R&D1
Release date JP 1979
NA 1980
EU 1980
Platform Arcade
Genre Shoot 'em up

Sheriff is a arcade game released by Nintendo in 1979. It was developed by Nintendo R&D1 and is noteworthy as the first Nintendo game to star a protagonist, Sheriff, following several games were only a vehicle was controlled.


A group of rogues has attacked, taking a beautiful woman captive as they left. The brave sheriff, wishing to save the beauty, runs for the rescue but soon ends up surrounded. Sixteen rogues circle him, forcing him to defeat them all to rescue the woman and win her love.


  • Sheriff: The hero. He sets out to save the captured beauty.
  • Beauty: The damsel in distress. She was taken captive by the rogues when they attacked. Falls in love with the sheriff when saved.
  • Rogues: The enemies. They attacked and took the beauty captive. Attacks in groups of sixteen.


The player controls a sheriff who is surrounded by sixteen rogues. These moves in a circle around him, protected by a barricade made up of single pixels, as well as a few larger blocks. The barricade will be destroyed when hit, but will thus also stop the bullets, while larger blocks will require several hits to disappear completely.

The rogues will shoot towards the sheriff, and the player will have to shoot all of them to move on to the next round. At some times, some of the rogues will enter the middle of the screen, and the player will not only have to avoid their bullets, but themselves as well. The player can also shoot condors that fly past the action for extra points.

The game supports alternative play for two players.


  • Shoot a rogue outside the barricade: 30 points
  • Shoot a rogue inside the barricade: 60 points
  • Shoot a condor: 100, 200 or 300 points, depending on time taken
  • Complete the third (first time only) or eighth round: Current score is doubled

Following the eighth round the game starts counting from one again. A single extra life can be earned by reaching 1500 points.


Sheriff was developed by Nintendo R&D1. Genyo Takeda is known to have worked on the game, and Shigeru Miyamoto did all the design work for the game, both the in-game sprites and artwork on the cabinet.

Nintendo wanted to make an arcade machine unlike any other, and they contacted a company that made the interior of airplanes. From them they bought stickers that imitated the look of real wood, giving the cabinet a saloon like look.[1]


Wario Ware Inc Sheriff

Wario's Sheriff in the menu of WarioWare Inc.

Sheriff was licensed to Exidy in 1980, and re-released as Bandido. The gameplay is identical, but it has "© Exidy" at the title screen.

Sheriff has been referenced in several Nintendo games since it's release. In Game Boy Camera's credits the game's title appears. The game would later get a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee featuring the hero and a few rogues. Most notably however, is the remake in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!. Sheriff is one of the many microgames featured, but the player can also unlock a full remake of the game. Wario's Sheriff as it is called, puts Wario's face on Sheriff and speeds up the game a bit, but is otherwise a perfect remake of the game.


Sheriff failed to gain any larger popularity, probably because of the difficulties in controlling the game. Despite this it was considered successful enough to be distributed by various companies outside of Japan, including the Bandido version by Exidy.


  1. Iwata Asks: Punch Out!!