think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the
entertainment business every single day of the year, including weekends.
Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that showcases
something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that embraces the
aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it may be a
long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and extended
family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it. So, take
this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of positivity
from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll help you
through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in their
busy celluloid digesting day.

By Steve Murphy (Author Page)

What I’m Thankful For:
Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja.

There are video games, and then there ARE video games. Back in 1988 Data East released this beat ‘em up that would go on to become a large, underground legend. Actually underground probably isn’t the best term, especially for a game that was referenced in Parenthood and shown in RoboCop 2 – but I didn’t discover this jewel until several years ago when I came across it in one of the hundreds of NES Roms I had. And truthfully, the Rom was for Bad Dudes, the NES port of the real game Bad Dudes vs. DragonNinja.  Still, all it took was this title screen and I was mesmerized:


That’s pretty much everything I need in a game – 80’s dudes and ninjas. Basically the 1980’s action genre in a pixelized nutshell. But the glory didn’t stop there, the very next line was “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?”, for which I couldn’t press ‘YES’ fast enough. I needed to see what lay beyond the 8-bit (although when I played the port it was technically 16-bit) tough-ass with the shades and the leather jacket.

The answer was mayhem and wonder: I instantly found myself beset by some blue-clad ninjas who showed up, annoyed me, then promptly beat the crap out of me.

Playing on the PC  never allows you to really master the feel of the original arcade version, or even the NES port. I was using the keyboard, as I’m not that big of a nerd to fork over real life coin for a joystick. But who cares about the gameplay of a game like this? The real joy is experiencing ancient graphics, the MIDI file music score (which is amazing), and how the Japanese company that created the game saw American culture back then. I couldn’t get enough of it.

While it’s clearly inspired by Double Dragon and Street Fighter, the sheer ridiculousness of Bad Dudes places it in a class all by itself. You get to play as the Bad Dudes themselves, toughly named Blade and Striker, and are charged with tracking down President Ronnie. He’s the guy the ninjas grabbed. And for your information yes, Ronnie=Reagan. It’s a great touch that proudly dates itself and it adds so much to the fun of the game it’s almost shameful. Regardless of your politics Reagan was an American icon, and the chance to rescue him from some evil ninjas whippin’ ass with nunchucks is too hard to resist.

What wasn’t hard is that I kept getting my butt kicked across the 8-bit town, but it really doesn’t matter; I love this game for unhealthy reasons, the main one being the ending – should you succeed:


Not only do you get to rescue Ronnie, you get to have a Presidential burger with him. Because burgers are all Americans fed on in the 80’s. Another great example of Data East’s firm grasp on Americana, and an absolutely incredible ending to a brilliant game.

Sure it’s deeply flawed by today’s standards, but today’s standards can get lost. This game deserves its cult following and I’m proud to be a member of it. I may have been a bit late to the party but I’m here nonetheless, and I’m extremely happy I stumbled upon this gem.

Want to contribute one? Send me the text and links to materials for your own ‘What I’m Thankful For’.

Well written, fun, and not self-promotional. Also, no pseudonyms or
fake names. Stand up and be proud of your opinions.