It’s Rockman day and I’m here today to talk about Mega Man. First I was going to talk about the nature of robotics in the Classic series with the approach used by Hitoshi Ariga in his comics (MegaMix and more recently, GigaMix.)
I decided to be more dull and speak about my own relationship with Mega Man.
To me, Mega Man is like one of those childhood crushes that you deeply care for when you’re just a wee lad, but then something just separates you, only you to find yourself embracing that childhood crush years later and marrying her.
My first touch to Mega Man was unsurprisingly Mega Man 2, and it was simply the best thing I’ve ever witnessed back then. The sound design, the gameplay, the enemies and simply the whole structure of the world made me gasp every time I won against a Robot Master. I never cared whether or not I used Game Genie. I just wanted to see it all. One of these days I’ll beat that game without cheating. It deserves at least that. Mega Man 2 was a loan game, so we didn’t have it very long. Actually, I think the NES itself was loaned from a friend to begin with, until my dad bought NES to my brother. I’d later inhert this console from him, though my mother bought me NES before that. Divorced parents and all that. I found Mega Man 4 once in a local game shop and bought the hell out of it. It felt strange and familiar, but it lacked something. As if I had a cheap copy of my past crush. Same thing with Mega– Rockman 3. I bought a pirate version of the game, and never really realised until later date. I was reliving the past memories of Mega Man, now coloured with roses. We didn’t really get many new games to our local stores to begin with, so finding out that there was a Mega Man 4 made my day for years… until I found what Internet was.
I saw many Mega Man games in the 90’s in the stores. I remember playing Mega Man X games for the SNES at a local supermarket (Prisma to you all. I still remember where games used to reside, until they changed them at least three times. Toy section used to be bigger back then. Or so it felt.) I saw something in that game, something familiar, yet something I’ve yet to grasp. The gameplay was there, but who was this new character? Until my next Mega Man game I used to think Mega Man X games were retellings or remakes of the original NES games. I didn’t even know that Mega Man 7 had been released to the SNES. I did use to watch the cover of Maximum Carnage for the SNES and wondering whether or not it was a Spider-Man game or not. I never noticed that it said SPIDER-MAN and VENOM above the title itself.
Around 1998 or so our household got a PlayStation. It was one of those smaller models with sleek design and no reset button. It was so long ago, but I still remember that I used to play Mega Man on emulators from time to time. This is like watching the picture of your past crush while remembering all the silly times you used to have. Then one day I saw it in stores; Mega Man X4. Few days later I purchased the game and made PlayStation for real for the first time. Now that I remember it, both of my brothers were there, sharing the experience with me, just like when we used to play Mega Man 2 on the NES. It bring tears to my eyes, as I realize how NES brought us closer as brothers. I’m afraid we have no longer that kind of connection.
But Mega Man X4. The reunion of lost lovers. I played the game almost every day and every day I advanced a little farther, got a little better and faster. I shared the experience with my friends, and especially with one we used to complete the game in one sitting later on. I even pulled off no-upgrade run in it. I remember every spot in that game, every nook and cranny I explored as Mega Man X and Zero. I remember madly falling in the metastory of the game, especially Iris’. I began to question the motives of the Maverick Hunters, I fathomed to think what it would take a robot to fall in love, I started to explore X’s character and the “unlimited potentiality” he had. In other words, my childhood crush had grown up. So had I. From that game on I became once more, or for the first time, a complete fan of the Mega Man franchise. It’s like getting married to that past crush, and realize that you’ve had those feelings all along, and only just now they got to bloom.
But Mega Man 2 isn’t my favourite Mega Man of the lot. I kind of hate to admit it, but I have none. I want to say Mega Man X4, and let’s leave it at that.
I’m happy with the series I’m deeply involved with. I have most of the games in a form or another, and keep continue to purchase the games I’ve missed used from somewhere. I even bought Rockman X4 to replace my cracked Mega Man X 4 disc. Funny story about that, the Mega Man X4 disc was so scratched at one point, that the voices of the characters turned into Japanese. I love Legends series, regard Zero series a worthy addition, Battle Network as awesome alternate universe, X series the pinnacle of the franchise and Classic games as one of the best games ever made. …ZX is good I guess. Mega Man Starforce could’ve used more work, just like ZX.
In a form or another, Mega Man has been with me a long time. At least since from the beginning of the 90’s. After Keiji Inafune, the father of Mega Man, left CAPCOM I felt rather disheartened. If CAPCOM (or any other company of the matter) made a Mega Man game without involvement from ‘Inafking’ it never was as good as they used to be. It lacked something, it had something completely that shouldn’t be in a Mega Man game, or something that made the game dire as hell. Examples of this would be the Nightmare system found in Mega Man X6, the revamped style of Mega Man X8, the general lackluster experience of the whole ZX series and so on.
Mega Man, quite honestly, lost a spark when Inafking left the company. I felt that a chapter in my life had closed, and a new one opened. The series is so close to me.
Mega Man will be with me from these days onwards. I will be buying Nintendo 3DS if only for the sole reason that it’ll get Mega Man Legends 3. This will be last time I buy a new Mega Man game for a long time. I’m through with Nintendo and Sony. I never was involved with Microsoft’s X-Box franchise and I couldn’t give two fucks about them. I’ve been given a chance to find something I find worth of interest, something that I have seen with my own eyes and felt in my own hands. I’ve followed Mega Man pretty much everywhere it went and seen many things. It feels rather empty to stop here. I find no interest in modern gaming, or what is going to come in the following years.
But I still have interest where Mega Man is going to go. This isn’t like divorcing your childhood crush. This is more like remembering all the fun times we had together, until we both fade away from life.
This post is dedicated to all Mega Man fans everywhere, to Inafking, and to my brothers.
Above: A song for an Endless Fight