About two weeks ago, Limit Break posted a Mario Family Line that cataloged every (or close to every) currently released title in the franchise's thirty-year history. Shortly afterward, Jim Sterling linked to it and added, "I'd be really interested to see this guy do a chart for Mega Man as well... but that's probably a project that could take a lifetime to complete."
More like one week.
I took it upon myself to do for Mega Man what Agamemnon of Limit Break did for Mario. It was hard. It was time-consuming. Why didn't I just drop the whole thing? I have too much free time.
While indices compiling most titles in the franchise were easy to find, I wanted to hunt down every last piece of software or electronic equipment that ran some semblance of a Mega Man game. Every port, every arcade machine, every cell phone app, every game-playing calculator. If there was a toaster that ran a Mega Man-skinned clone of Breakout (there isn't, I checked) then you can bet it will be in my chart.
The only things not in the chart are budget re-releases and special editions. Other than that, everything I've found, regardless of how shady it may appear and to the best of my knowledge, is an official Capcom or Capcom-licensed release. There might be some obscure gadget that flew under my nose, but I highly doubt it.
My chart is a little bit different than the one on Limit Break. First, instead of a family tree, mine is a straightforward list with each row representing a year and each column representing one of the seven main Mega Man series. Each game is arranged according to year (not necessarily by specific month and day) of earliest region release. For the sake of familiarity, I've used American (or PAL) box art or screens if available.
For example, Mega Man 8 for the PlayStation was released in the US in 1997. However, it was released at the end of the previous year in Japan. That means that on the chart, the US Mega Man 8 box art appears on the 1996 row.
You can view the full image by hitting up one of the links below. I must warn you that the piece is extremely large. At a size of just under 3 MB, a resolution of 7668x6000, and a game count of 156, it completely schools the Mario list, thank you! But good Lord, did it bring my poor six-year-old laptop to crawl when I was editing it in Photoshop. If you guys note any typos or inaccuracies or discover a game I left out, don't hesitate to tap my shoulder. Just don't be surprised if I get a little peeved.