For Our Consideration: Ninja Gaiden tried to be a movie but found its drama in the language of comics

Ninja Gaiden should be devoid of drama. It was a simple game about a ninja on a revenge mission and a violent, fun answer to Konami’s Castlevania. Almost 30 years after its release, though, Tecmo’s NES staple still feels strange and grand thanks in large part to the way it depicts Ryu Hayabusa’s journey. The story is affecting, seemingly on accident. Its creators were trying to infuse video games with cinematic style, but Ninja Gaiden‘s most dramatic moments are delivered in the language of comics.

“It was the idea of Mr. Yoshizawa, who has to be called the father of the series, to create an action game with a dense story,” recalls writer and artist Masato Kato in Hardcore Gaming 101‘s interview about Ninja Gaiden. “One might say that creating, of course, means to make something that hasn’t been there until then, anyway, but …

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