Electro-Mechanical Genco Sky Gunner 1953

Classic video games are like crack, you get one and soon you need another and another. I found this game on (an excellent listing of em games) and started watching ebay for it. Finally after months one showed up and I won it.

An unusual game. You look through the eyeports and see a 3d illusion of some airplanes. You move the entire gun piece up and down(just for your height) and move the handles to shoot. The entire mechanism is in the gun, the cabinet is mostly empty except for the coin mechanism and some scoring parts. Genco was bought out by Chicago Coin in 1953(the year this was released along with 3dimension Invaders from Genco). The gun handles are almost identical to the handles on my 1973 Chicago Coin Commando Machine Gun game except this one has fire buttons on 2 sides, the Commando has one fire button.


Flyer, I have a new reproduction from, this image was from marvin3m I think.


Someone installed a free play button, just reach through the coin return and press the button. Handy. The curled sticker is an original 5 cent sticker that was never used, the game has a 10cent sticker on it.

This is the insides of the cabinet.

When I received it, the wood support for the gun was cracked so I had to take it down and repair it before it was playable. When removing the support things suddenly started rattling in the gun. I could just imaging little airplane models bouncing around and being destroyed. I carefully drilled out the lock(no key) and removed the cover to find that two light bulbs had fallen out. They apparently came lose during shipment. Easily fixed.

This is a closeup of the gun mechanism.


This is a closeup of the actual artwork. There are small wires going to each airplane and when you move the handles it moves a physical metal crosshair that touches the metal dot in the middle of the plane to register a hit.



The game was way way too easy when the lights stay on. The airplanes rotate through the viewfinder such that you can hold the gun on one and keep shooting it over and over. But, I realized I could replace the light bulbs with flashing bulbs(just xmas tree type bulbs) and put darker blue bulbs behind the image to make the image dark and flash in and out so you only see flashes of the planes, this makes it much more interesting and all I had to do was a $25 strand of 25 twinkle lights, which was cheaper than 10 refill lights. Here are some sources for twinkle type C7 lights(you can also try flicker
but twinkle is the best)
Flicker lights can be found here or search for C7 FLICKER,2263.html


I think I get the best results with 1 flicker light behind the sceen for a low light(like fires burning in the background) which silhouettes the airplanes and one twinkle light in front. I had to try several twinkle lights before I found one that actually twinkled off enough. Then I used a regular white clear glass nightlight in the top for the Hit light. This keeps the light level low and makes it look like night. I may experiment with moving the twinkle light behind and only have the white hit light in front so you cannot see the silver points on the planes to shoot at. When it was bright with all 5 lights it was much too easy. You only had to hold the machine gun cross hairs on the hit point of a plane and follow it accross the viewer. Now it is dark and with intermittent lights you have to pay attention. I think it is better now than when Genco designed it. Also, the 3d effect...... It's psychosomatic. As far as I can tell there are no lenses of any type in the viewer, just a regular piece of glass with mirrors along the path. The small planes do look to be deep in the machine, at least if you have not taken it apart to see how it works. Also I cant figure out how to set the 200 shots/300 shots or difficulty option. The only adjustment does not seem to adjust much. I moved it all the way one direction and got 300 shots, but the next play only got 200 shots, then 300, then 200. Hmmm.

Here are some images from an ebay auction...




Sky Gunner View

The game Ace Machine Gun looks similar to Sky Gunner but is in fact completely different. It has models moving inside the cabinet and a reflector mirror. Sky Gunner has small flat models in the gun itself.