Game Association: Ninja Gaiden Trilogy (NES)

Ninja Gaiden

Good thing I’ve been working on my cardio.

In 1989 Tecmo published the action platformer Ninja Gaiden on the NES. It went on to spawn two more sequels on the console. The series stars Ryu Hayabusa, dramatic cutscenes, and a ridiculous difficulty.

Ninja Gaiden Trilogy on the NES =

Cole – That’s really sad that dude’s dad had to die.

– Shouldn’t Ryu’s dad have taken the dragon sword with him instead of leaving it behind for me? Maybe he’d still be alive.

– Did this Ryu grow up to be Street Fighter’s Ryu?

– God damn every flying thing in this game… actually all games.

– Shinobi? Isn’t that a Sega property?

Jason –  I was aware of a Nintendo Power Strategy Guide and even that didn’t help much.

Nicole – I remember taking those crappy ninja swords you’d win at arcades and recreating the opening scene in the back yard.

Ethan – Piggybacking off of Cole’s comments, I believe it was the first game I that really brought out my need for vengeance.

– Mr. Ryu sure had a lot on his plate throughout this game. I was always surprised no one offered to help. Life of a ninja I suppose.

– This was definitely a “rent it series” as it was too frustrating to own. My parents were already unsure of the long term effects of being a gamer and “Gaiden Rage” wouldn’t have helped.


At second glance, Ryu doesn’t look that confident either.

Justin G – I beat Ninja Gaiden with my cousin. The first boss was a stone cold sonuvabitch. The closing scene should have been accompanied by bowchickawowwow music. Also, #IBeatThatGame and #FuckTheCrows

Kenny – I strongly associate it with the TV show Video Power. They had a segment where the contestants had to beat the first stage of Ninja Gaiden before everyone else. If you won, you got to run through a maze filled with video games that you could keep if you stuck it onto your Velcro suit! It was thoroughly amazing and still is (but also kind of terrible).

Coop – I immediately think of The Wizard. He was so much better at the game than me. It was on like a monitor built into the table.

Justin – It is the second game that I remember noticing as a kid how hard it was to play (Contra was the first). Ninja Gaiden stood out. It didn’t seem fair. But I saw an older friend of mine play it and get pretty far so it was fascinating.

– Maybe if I get far enough, the game will actually let me play one of those cutscenes where I get to run through a field, jump through the air, and kill another ninja.

– I keep cutting this boss but he won’t stop coming at me.

– Those enemies with the Jason mask look a lot more bad ass in the arcade version, but this version is a lot more fun to play.

– I don’t understand why the flames don’t burn Ryu when he throws them.

– Seriously, do you think video games will ever look this good as these cutscenes?

– The main villain in Ninja Gaiden II still gives me nightmares. I think this was my first horror game.

What comes to mind when you think about Ninja Gaiden on the NES?