Updated 24 May, 2013, 1:07 pm IST
3 Games that turn you into a ninja
| by Nachiket Mhatre
Kids these days won't pick up a game unless it came with training wheels. As the majority hankers to be mollycoddled, big video game studios have been coming out with games that tend to be nerfed to the point that they have no redeeming value for old schoolers who crave a challenge. The mainstream may have failed us, but there are plenty of independent video game developers who cater to our kind. The kind of gamers who enjoy seemingly impossible platformers that take several hundred tries and cause much butthurt.
I want to play a game
You could call us masochists or just hardcore. Alternatively you could use the term masocore, which is a portmanteau of the two words. What these games lack in eye candy, they make it up with meticulous level design and a brand of gameplay that's refined through thorough beta testing and careful fine tuning. Although they dish out challenges that seem insurmountable, their gameplay sophistication ensures that your own skill level ramps up accordingly. These games, as I have noted, tend to hone your reflexes to almost superhuman levels. However, in the case of the ones mentioned below, they somehow transform you into a ninja.
Super Meat Boy
However, the side scroller hasn't earned a cult status just due to its nakedness, but rather because of its soul-crushing difficulty. The game gives you no instructions at all. It doesn't take long to discover that the [Ctrl] and [Shift] keys control slashing and jumping, whereas the arrow keys dictate motion. However, with no clue on what magic a combination of these keys can achieve, you will die many undignified deaths as you stumble through the architectural anarchy.
What you need, however, is pure experimentation and some painful trial and error to unravel the true depth of what the naked ninja can achieve. It is only when you delve deeper into the game, and discover more of its hidden ninjitsu tricks, that you really come to terms with Ikiki's gameplay masterpiece. Spend enough time with the platformer and you start weaving the mad ninja moves in a blood-soaked ballet of naked ninja carnage. It's better witnessed than read about, to be honest.
The difficulty curve isn't gradual; it just ramps up exponentially with each passing level. Besting this game doesn't just take pure skill, but a complete distillation of ingenuity and naked ninjitsu. If you think Ninja Gaiden is the toughest ninja game, just wait till you play Nikujin. It is only then will you understand the true meaning of being a ninja. The best part is that Nikujin is free to download and play.
Beat Takeshi is exactly what you'd want to do
Released in 1986, the game was meant for Nintendo's Famicom platform in Japan. Made under the close eye of the multi-talented Takeshi Kitano, who is a producer, a director, an actor, a comedian, but above all he is a sadistic genius. For starters, he was the brain behind Takeshi's Castle — a show where contestants are beaten up, molested, and humiliated in a futile quest to overcome impossible tasks. If that wasn't bad enough, he played the role of a sadistic teacher pitting his students in a gladiatorial battle to the death in Battle Royale. It doesn't take a genius to know that Takeshi Kitano is a kind of person who revels in Schadenfreude — taking great pleasure in the suffering of others. If you need any more confirmation, the game itself proudly proclaims that it has been made by a man who hates video games.
The challenges themselves aren't appealing in terms of gameplay, design, or have any redeeming value other than that of pure masochism. Think of it as as a bulldozer driving over your nuts, as they rest on shards of broken glass. The only difference is that Takeshi's Challenge is a lot more painful. For starters, you have to sing for an hour into the controller, which is followed by holding a button down for four hours straight. If you somehow live through that, you get to beat the boss enemy, Takeshi himself, by hitting any button 20,000 times, without relenting even for a moment.
This game, as you can see, is pure torture and suffering neatly packed into an 8-bit cartridge. Beating it is nigh impossible not because it's challenging, but because its mind numbingly boring and excruciatingly painful. It therefore requires a ninja-like control over your mind. Because it is only when you beat your mind that you'll become a ninja.
Tags: indie games , independent games , masocore , masocore games , 8-bit games , super meat boy , nikujin , takeshis challenge , takeshis castle , download super meat boy , download nikujin , nkiujin free download
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