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Shinobi is a side-scrolling action video game developed by Sega R&D1 and published by Sega for arcades.   The game was developed using the Sega System 16 arcade board, a 16-bit successor to the Sega System 1 and Sega System 2 arcade boards.

The game places players in control of a modern-day Ninja named Joe Musashi who has to stop a terrorist organization named Zeed who are kidnapping the students of his clan.  As Musashi players battle their way through each level in search of hostages that need rescuing while facing a boss battle at the end of each stage.

Shinobi released in arcades in 1987 and was very successful, gaining a lot of attention for Sega.  Sega decided to port the arcade hit to their 8-bit home console, the Sega Master System.   The game needed to be built from the ground up due to the vast differences in hardware capability between the Sega System 16 arcade board and the Master System’s hardware.

Sega R&D2 handled the re-creation of the game for the Sega Master System.  The revised version was released in 1988 with minor alterations to make the game more suitable for home consoles such as the removal of one hit kills in favor of a health meter.  The Sega Master System release of the game received critical acclaim and was one of the most successful games released for the system.

The success of the game led the way for additional adaptations for other platforms such as the Nintendo Entertainment System, PC Engine and various home computers.  Sega decided to expand upon the concept of the game by releasing two simultaneous sequels, Shadow Dancer for the arcade and The Revenge of Shinobi for the Sega Genesis.  The success of Shinobi inspired the development of further sequels and spin-offs turning the ninja themed game into a successful franchise for Sega.

Developer(s)Sega R&D1 (Arcade)
Sega R&D2 (Master System)
SuccessorShadow Dancer
Media TypeCabinet
ReleaseJP: November 1987
NA: 1987
EU: 1987
RatingPre-Dates ESRB
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Sega Master System – 1988
NES – 1989
PC Engine – 1989
DOS – 1989
Amiga – 1989
Amstrad CPC – 1989
Atari ST – 1989
Commodore 64 – 1989
MSX – 1989
ZX Spectrum – 1989

Digital Releases
Wii – 2009
Xbox 360 – 2009
Nintendo Switch – 2020

Game Screenshots:

Slope's Game Room - The Complete History of Shinobi


Slope’s Game Room

Daniel Ibbertson A.K.A. DJ Slope from Slope’s Game Room aims to bring you the complete history on your gaming past.  Slope’s Game Room focuses on documentaries and fact shows on retro games.

Yutaka SuganoDirector
Yasuhiro KawakamiComposer
Sound Designer

Arcade Cabinet

Sega Master System (North American Release)

Mark III (Japanese Release)

Nintendo Entertainment System (Unlicensed North American Release)

PC Engine (Japanese Release)

Amiga (North American Release)

DOS (North American Release)

Commodore 64 (European Release)

MSX (European Release)

Media & Promotional Material