Friday, August 31, 2012

Top 5 NES Story Premises: #1: Bad Dudes

Every storytelling medium has its watershed creations. The works of art that made quantum leaps forward in sophistication. Influential achievements that informed everything that followed. For books, there was Homer's Iliad. For movies, Citizen Kane. For comics, Watchmen.

And for video games, there is Bad Dudes.

When this swollen-faced presidential handler appeared on television screens in 1989, he ripped the lid off of video game storytelling. His message was terse, even blunt. When the president is in danger, there's no time to dick around. And when things get so dire that your only hope to defeat president-stealing ninjas is to turn to random street toughs and their undeniable fighting ability, you know the stakes are through the roof.

Bad Dudes made men out of boys and men out of girls. It was a game about confronting the hard truths of grown-up life. Sometimes life doesn't go your way. Sometimes the odds are stacked against you. And sometimes the president gets kidnapped by ninjas.

There comes a time when every young NES gamer has to look in the mirror and ask that one crucial question:

"Am I a bad enough dude to rescue the president?"

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