Ninja Kid Was My Very First Video Game

Ninja Kid Was My Very First Video Game

Do you remember your very first video game?

Back in the ’80s, I had long seen the Nintendo at friends’ houses. When I finally got my own console, I was given the choice of picking out any additional game I wanted (aside from the Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt that came with it). I was already aware of The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and even Castlevania. But for reasons I’ve long forgotten, I picked a strange game called Ninja Kid.

Based on a Japanese manga series called GeGeGe no Kitaro – Yōkai Daimakyō, it was actually a pretty successful game in Japan, being the eighth best selling game on the Famicom in 1986. When it was ported to the US, they changed the hero from Kitaro, a Ghost Tribe member combating monsters using his hair, to a random Ninja Kid who always fought with a weird smile. I played this game a lot, mainly because after Super Mario, I had nothing else to play. Plus, no one wanted to swap/borrow Ninja Kid for one of the games they had in their collection.

There were aspects I really enjoyed, from the catchy music to the creepy enemy designs. The levels also mixed up the gameplay with a variety of strange objectives.

I recently had the chance to pick up a complete version of the game as I found it for a relatively reasonable price on eBay (I still don’t know what happened to all my old games from long ago). Flipping through the manual was a trip to my past, and memories of struggling through the game flooded back to me. Even if it wasn’t the best game on the NES, it felt so nostalgic to hold it in my hands again.


  • Galaxian

    My dad used to take me to the pub at the age of 5 and there was a tabletop arcade cabinet there with Galaxian/Dig Dug/Pac Man and some other games. He would give me about 10 bucks in coins, get hammered and then drive me home.

  • First console game was Zelda on the Nes. First video game was Paratrooper on an old 286. Both in 1987.

  • I think my first was Invaders. Basically a Space Invaders rip off on the Hanimex console. That would have been in 1981 or 1982 🙁

  • An old ASCII game called Wilderness, or Wilderness Survival. You’re lost in a national park and have to find the ranger station without getting eaten by bears, or die of starvation or thirst. I’ve had a really hard time finding the game since, as there’s another old CGA game with the same name that is not the same game. This one was entirely ASCII.

  • My parents picked up Ghostbusters to go along with Alex Kidd in Miracle World that was built in to the Sega MasterSystem II I got for my fourth birthday. I see that game game come up a lot for how terrible it was, but I have very fond memories of that game:

    I figured out that it was more cost effective to go on a job, then just sit the controller down and wait for all of the red timer to go through than pay the city everytime the Marshmallow man destroyed buildings.

    I once guessed a password by putting in random characters that gave me a heck of a lot of money.

    I rarely got up to Gozer, and felt such of excitement/nervousness every time my hands would shake. Too bad I could never actually figure out what I was looking at on that final level, and would always die instantly.

  • The original Adventure Island on the NES. Otherwise known as Wonder Boy in the arcades. I was 7 at the time. That dude was my Mario. I used to love getting the skateboard upgrade and jumping over snakes. Throwing caveman axes and knocking off the Rhino head of the first boss is deeply burned into my memory. I never completed that game. Even with the help of my (then 20 yr old) brother. It just got ridiculous. I think we made it to world 6 or 7, before deeming it impossible. And this is after years of attempts! I’d love to give that bastard another crack…

  • Mothership on Commodore 64. Also in the set was Firetrap. Galactic Games. A couple of IF. Lode Runner.

  • I remember going to my friends place an playing Moon Patrol on his Atari 2600, I was absolutely mesmerized.

    A few months later we got a Apple II and I got a few games. Aztec and Karateka. I still call one of the guys “moo moo cow head” even though now I realise it was them wearing samurai helmets. :3

    • Samurai helmets!! All makes sense now. Enemies were sort of looking like they were going to a Lodge convention!! Thanks dude!!!!

  • That’d have to be one of three games I the Commodore 64:
    * Impossible Mission
    * A pigeon picking up sticks from a road to make a nest, kind of like Frogger
    * a ninja infiltrating a corporate building with a helicopter on top? Maybe Shinobi???

    First PC game was leisure suit larry 2. Both console and pc I started playing as a kid in the late 80’s.

  • The first game I ever owned personally was Pitfall on Atari 2600. It was the greatest day of my life.

  • First ever game-game was the Kingsway, 60 games in one.
    More mainstream, Alwx the Kid built in to the master system

  • Christmas Day 1983. Commodore 64, Tape Drive – Lazarian (cartridge), Attack Of The Mutant Camels (tape), and Gortek and The Microchips (tape, a kids basic programming tutorial).

    Though I’d go on to play a lot more AMC, and finished Gorteks game/exercise book/tutorial – that Christmas Day was owned by Lazarian.

  • Getting a Master System and Hang On. That and the secret snail game kept me and my brother entertained for months until we picked up Gain Ground…the rest is glorious gaming history.

  • It was either Pac-Man,Space Invaders or Moon Patrol.Local fish n chip shop in Manly had them.Early 80’s.

  • First game I played was Prince of Persia at a friend’s place. It blew my mind. I knew right then that I wanted to make games.

    First game I owned was Kirby’s Dreamland on gameboy. It’s not a particularly hard game, but I played so much I could get through new game + without taking a single hit.

    • Ahh, Prince of Persia!

      My brother and I used to play it without the manual, which made things hard when it came to choosing the right potion in the potion level to drink to advance without killing you. We laughed at that every time he keeled over, and especially so when you mis-timed a jump through the “chompers” and sliced you in half with blood everywhere. Still remember the music when you die 😀

      • Yeah, my friend had a pirated copy too. I think we very occasionally made it past that potion drinking section by pure chance, but it was uncommon.

        The chompers used to terrify me. I was pretty young, I’d never played a game before or seen any kind of violent movie. Seeing him chomped in half in a pool of blood was pretty full on.

        Such a great sense of atmosphere, though. I still love pulling it out occasionally and enjoying the look and feel of it all.

    • While Dark Chambers was the first game I ever owned as it came with the second hand Atari 2600 I bought, Skate or Die was the first game I ever purchased. It was aweful!

  • First game I ever bought was a 6-pack from the Gamesmen in 1990. It was the C64 Pack of the Year (also known as Six Sizzlers) with:
    1. Big Trouble In Little China (awful licensed game but OK for wasting 10 minutes)
    2. The Last Ninja (isometric beat-em-up with the best music ever – a real gem)
    3. Galactic Games (space Olympics – some games like head throwing were fun)
    4. X-15 Alpha Mission (awful futuristic combat flight sim)
    5. Labyrinth (suprisingly awesome text/action licensed game, although too hard for me at the time)
    6. Firetrap (cool 3D building climb / shoot-em-up)

    Bonus: picture of the advert in the catalog:

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