Kid Niki: Radical Ninja
Nintendo Entertainment System
Kid Niki: Radical Ninja. Let’s take a moment to enjoy the beauty of this game’s title. It is a pure expression of a zeitgeist, a title where each of its four words multiplies the awesomeness of the other three to create a perfect name, a name that belongs to a single moment in time. This is a game that came that came in a pink box and sincerely believed itself to be all the more rad for doing so. This game belongs to 1987.
I want to eke as much joy out of the title of this game, Kid Niki: Radical Ninja, because having to play it the opposite of joy. This is an awful Generic Ninja Sidescroller. It has a truly charming art style, which almost redeems it, but the gameplay is just total and utter pants. This is not a video game for having fun while playing.
Fortunately, not all games are for playing. The mundane reality of the game itself cannot destroy the deeper beauty of what the game represents. The game is a koan, meditating upon the nature of itself. We are richer for Kid Niki: Radical Ninja having been made.
Of course, we can only appreciate Kid Niki: Radical Ninja through the warm distance of time. At the time, it was just another bad ninja game, but now it is something special. A weird totem of a weird moment. I take great comfort in this knowledge, because it suggests that in 2035, Marcus Feenix of Gears of War will have made the transition from eye-rollingly lame to fist-pumpingly sweet.